Q: For more than eight years, a homeowner has had a dispute with a special assessment. A lien was ultimately filed against her property. The homeowner has contacted the state ombudsman and the city of Las Vegas, and they either disagree with her or find that the homeowners association and the vendors were correct.
Each time she contacts someone she claims the HOA has never responded and often even implies this is a recent issue and not one that is eight years old. Two years ago, we sent a “last letter” to her and now we respond to inquiries from city or state agencies. We no longer respond to her personal tirades. She has changed tactics.
First, a highly inflammatory letter was sent to our collection company, again stating no one from the HOA had ever responded to her requests for information.
The accusations against the board and management company bordered on the absurd. This letter supposedly came from an attorney. After investigation, it was found the “attorney” couldn’t be found in Nevada.
When this letter didn’t get the response the homeowner wanted, she sent a handwritten letter that claimed the board’s actions had stressed her family so much that her spouse developed cardiac problems, had a heart attack and died.
The HOA is taking the high ground. The board chooses to not engage with the homeowner because using money hire a lawyer to deal with her complaints would not be in its best interest.
We, on the board, address her public complaints directly. When she comes to meetings and claims she’s been discriminated against or harassed, we say it’s untrue and do not let her rant on record.
I am furious with her behavior. She is disparaging people who have given her every opportunity to resolve her issue and who have shown her compassion and consideration during her family’s loss. I know the board will not take action against her.
But as a board member, can I file a complaint regarding her lies with the ombudsman?
I’d be willing to pay my own legal costs to do so.
She shouldn’t have the right to do this. It’s more than the assessment — it’s become an attack on the integrity of the board — and my personal integrity.
A: Because you are a board member, your independent action would bring the board into the conflict and could incite the homeowner to sue you and the association.
I have more questions than answers for you. Did the association ever collect her special assessment? If the association filed a lien, did the association continue with the foreclosure process or did the association rescind its action?
When the homeowner claimed that her husband died from stress incurred by the association, did she sue the association? Did the association warn its insurance company of a possible lawsuit? Has she filed any new complaints with the local and state agencies?
Ultimately, the association will have to deal with this homeowner and will need legal counsel’s assistance.
Barbara Holland, certified property manager, broker and supervisory certified association manager, is president and owner of H&L Realty and Management Co. Questions may be sent to the Association Q&A, P.O. Box 7440, Las Vegas, Nev., 89125. Fax is 702-385-3759, email is firstname.lastname@example.org.