Q: I’ve been on our homeowners association board for almost six years. At today’s meeting and election, a homeowner sat near me, snarling and yelling. We have had three of five spots filled on the board and when I called for a motion this homeowner made horrible remarks, basically implying we were doing something shady because there was just the three of us on the board. He pounded a table. He leaned into me and kept shouting. He has only been to one other board meeting while I’ve been on the board and he’s attended game nights and wasn’t like this at all. I didn’t understand why he was so mean.
Our management representative and other board members tried to intervene and we tried to keep the meeting moving but he wouldn’t stop. I was afraid and overwhelmed. I am scared of him. So on the spot, without any prethought, I quit. I picked up my things and I left. This means our board no longer has a quorum. I feel horribly guilty. I’ve abandoned the HOA but I don’t know what to do. I wish we could move.
I can give up going to the pool because this man lives near there. But what will happen to our HOA if we don’t have a quorum?
A: Here is an example of a homeowner harassing a board member. I am sure that there are other associations where board members and community managers have shared similar experiences. So what to do?
First, every association should consider adding a new rule to their governing documents, entitled, “Disrupting a Meeting, NRS 203.090.” The law states that “every person who, without authority of law, shall willfully disturb any assembly or meeting not unlawful in its character, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.” This new rule would help put some “teeth” into your regulations pertaining to the association’s meetings.
Second, every association should consider adopting NRS 116.31184 into its rules and regulations. I call this law, the “bully law.” It basically states that any community manager, board member, homeowner, etc. “shall not willfully and without legal authority threaten, harass or otherwise engage in a course of conduct against any other person.”
The law also says a person who violates this provision is guilty of a misdemeanor. In defining such action, the law states ” that causes harm or serious emotional distress, or the reasonable apprehension, thereof to that person or creates a hostile environment for that person.”
Please note that both of these suggestions apply to everyone, including board members and community managers. Now NRS 116.31184 is not under the jurisdiction of the commission or the division per the state law. An individual would have to file a police report or have an attorney file some restraining order and motion in court.
Third, if the meeting becomes disruptive, the board president, should recess the meeting. If the board president or the community manager cannot reason with the person, the meeting should be adjourned. In preparing for another meeting to continue the board’s business, the board should consider the hiring of a security guard to attend the next meeting. Because, you have to provide a 10-day notice of the continued meeting, the association, through its board president or community manager, has another opportunity to reach out to that homeowner to attempt to resolve the problem or allow you enough time to bring in your legal counsel or the state ombudsman for assistance.
As to the annual meeting that was disrupted, I believe the association could have counted the election ballots as the only “quorum” for election are the ballots. At least that task could have been concluded. This association needs to call for another meeting to complete its agenda and election.
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, NV 89125. Fax is 702-385-3759, email is firstname.lastname@example.org.