HOA board member uses Facebook as sounding board

Q: I am wondering what the Legislature and/or statutes have to say about someone (particularly a board member) setting up a Facebook page using the name of the community (without permission). Notices were then put up on mailboxes inviting residents to join. Out of more than 100 homes, maybe 30 have signed up and the page has become a place for gripes, complaints about neighbors and/or the management company, etc.

Know that technology is now our future, but is there anything on the books or pending that would safeguard our homeowners association from becoming a public forum? My personal feeling is that this is certainly unethical, but is it legal? Is this a serious enough offense to think of a recall of this board member?

A: At this time, there are no Nevada laws that specifically address your issues. One of my associations had a similar problem where a former board member created an internet site using the name of the association. Because the name was registered, the former board member had to change the name.

Freedom of the press, freedom of speech — those rights are basic fundamental concepts of our Constitution, framed in our Bill of Rights. The bottom line is that the board member has the right to have a page where communication flows back and forth.

In my case, management was instructed to monitor the internet site and if any information was not accurate, we were to address those comments or have the board address them.

Another way of addressing this issue is for the board to produce a newsletter that summarizes the board meetings and the various issues or projects that were discussed for consideration by the directors. This newsletter would, at least, present the official information to the homeowners. In addition, many associations have a monthly or quarterly town hall meetings that allow homeowners to address specific topics. Town hall meetings can be most effective but it does require some basic rules of conduct.

In my case, the town hall meetings became so productive and with the new design of the newsletter, our homeowners felt that they had an active voice in the management of the association. The board also made some changes as to how the two homeowner forums at the board meetings were conductive which was a positive move in opening up two-way communication.

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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