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HOA must deal with bully board member

Q: I meant to ask you as a new board member (October 2018), can I ask for copies of the contracts we have for the vendors and contractors, insurance companies and lawyers. I have no idea who all these companies are, and I am the vice president.

I have lived here for 22 years and I don’t think that everything is being done properly. The treasurer seems to be running the place. He is a bully and thinks he owns the place. He makes up rules when he is doing the walk-throughs. Is he even suppose to do them? We have a lawsuit against our association where his name is the only one mentioned. If you can help me understand some of this I sure would appreciate it.

A: As a board member and as an officer of the association, you have the right to obtain the copies of the contracts of the association as well as a list of the vendors that are servicing your community.

The management of the association should be performed by the board of directors and not a sole director. Decisions of how to manage the community should be made by the directors. You don’t make up your own rules. Your association should have rules and regulations that have been approved by the board and have been properly disseminated to your homeowners.

The only way to keep bully board members in check is for the entire board to deal with the issue in executive session. Depending upon the gravity of the situation, legal counsel should be informed and invited to attend the executive session. As a board, you can vote to remove him as the treasurer and elect a new one. You cannot remove him as a director unless there was an official recall that must be voted upon by your homeowners.

As to your lawsuit, please contact your legal counsel to review the lawsuit with the full board so that you all have a complete understanding of the issues.

Q: In April, we had a homeowners association board meeting. On the agenda there was an item to fill a vacancy on the board. I was not aware of this until I received my board packet. Now, I’m getting an email from the management company asking for my approval to put it on the agenda for the next board meeting. This person didn’t show up at the last meeting. So, do they have to get approval from board members before a meeting? The next meeting is in July. The position is only open until October. Do they need my approval before a meeting or not? And how is it decided?

A: It appears the management company just wanted confirmation to place on the next board agenda the board vacancy so that the board can discuss whether to appoint a director or to leave the position opened since the election period is in October.

Q: Our homeowners association wishes to vacate an alley that starts at the south end of our property and runs north to the north end, where it stops. It serves no purpose other than access to residents’ parking. The city sees no reason not to vacate. Our reason is so we can gate it. Can we proceed with this without a signature from every owner approving the project?

A: To more precisely answer your question, I would need to review the governing documents. Based on similar situations that I have encountered, my opinion is that the association would have to obtain a signature from every owner who lives near the alley to approve this project. The board may have pushback as the alley does allow access to resident parking.

Finally, the board would need to consider any additional operating or reserve expenses as a result of the gate and if the financial costs would impact the community as a whole.

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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