HOA board cannot force neighbors to talk

Q: If a homeowners association member has a complaint against another homeowner, and the offending homeowner refuses to discuss the issue, can the complaining homeowner appeal to the HOA board to arrange a meeting between the two parties.

If a request is made to the board for a meeting, is it obligated to arrange such a meeting? And further, must the offending homeowner attend the meeting?

The questions sound simple but I’m sure the answers are not.

I guess the question behind the question is: Does the HOA have a role to play in helping keep peace among the homeowners and getting them to sit down and discuss the situation a step in that direction.

A: It is unfortunate when homeowners cannot be good neighbors. An association’s relationship between homeowners can be found within the guidelines and directions of the association’s governing documents. Please note that not every issue or dispute or complaint falls under the board’s legal jurisdiction.

Generally speaking, if two homeowners need to meet in order to mediate their differences, most associations would refer the homeowners to the Clark County Neighborhood Justice Center where professional mediators can assist them to help reach a resolution. The mediation is not mandatory, so there could be times when one of the homeowners refuses to attend.

Most associations would not arrange a required meeting between the two parties to resolve their differences, per se. If the complaint is one that falls under an association’s governing documents such as a violation, the offending homeowner would normally first receive a courtesy notice before being called to a hearing.

The homeowner who filed the complaint would eventually need to attend a hearing if the complaining homeowner was needed to testify before the board in order to substantiate the complaint.

Ultimately, keeping the peace may require the police department or the homeowner’s legal counsel depending upon the nature of the incident.

Let’s assume that your neighbor was taking photos of your children in your swimming pool without your consent.

This is a perfect example where the homeowner must contact the police department and file a formal complaint.

If your neighbor’s irrigation system was impacting your backyard drainage, most governing documents would require the association to become involved and send a formal courtesy notice to your neighbor.

If an association is in doubt as to what action they should take then the association needs to contact their attorney for advice.

Barbara Holland is a certified property manager, broker and supervisory certified association manager. Questions may be sent to holland744o@gmail.com.

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