HOA president has options in dealing with abusive director
When did we lose the ability to communicate with each other in a professional and respectful manner? When did we lose the ability to respect each other’s opinion and then reach for an optimum solution and decision when trying to balance the various needs of our community?
Q: I am the board president of our gated homeowners association. A lot of email transactions take place outside of the board meetings, with 90 percent opposing opinions by one of our members.
A disturbing trend is taking place where a particular member does not follow basic civility in the emails he sends. I and our association manager have on many occasions reminded him of his out-of-line behavior.
I reviewed Nevada Revised Statute 116 and ran across NRS 116.31184 dealing with “Threats, harassment and other conduct prohibited; penalty.”
A- Subsection 1 states: “… a member of the executive board … shall not willfully and without legal authority threaten, harass or otherwise engage in a course of conduct against any other person … a member of the executive board of his or her association … .”
B- Subsection 2 adds: “A person who violates the provision of subsection 1 is guilty of a misdemeanor … (Added to NRS by 2013.2529).”
A: NRS 116.31184 is what I call the “bully” law. The law covers not only the board of directors and management staff but also homeowners, tenants and guests. It is against the law to threaten, harass or engage in a course of action that causes harm or serious emotional distress, reasonable apprehension or a hostile environment. A person can be found guilty of a misdemeanor.
What a number of associations have done is incorporate this law as part of their rules and regulations and apply the association’s enforcement procedures and penalties.
You have a number of options in handling this behavioral problem. First, you can have a sit-down workshop and directly discuss the issues and attempt to obtain agreement as to how to conduct association business. There are professional individuals who can assist your board and mediate the meeting. You also can speak with the Nevada Real Estate Division for its support in having one of its staff members attend the meeting.
Second, the board, after conferring with your legal counsel, can propose a bully law regulation.
Third, your board can vote to send a violation letter to your director based upon your covenants, conditions and restrictions or based upon the NRS 116.31184 statute. You would need your legal counsel to assist you with this violation letter.
Finally, the board can vote to initiate a recall of this director. The recall would have to be approved by a vote of the homeowners.
I would also recommend “disengaging.” The problem with emails that are obnoxious is that the receivers want to engage in rebuttals, and from there the emails proceed to go downhill. In addition, as president, don’t allow the board meeting to become disruptive. The moment that happens either recess and calm everyone down or adjourn the meeting.
Barbara Holland is a certified property manager, broker and supervisory certified association manager. Questions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.