Board member getting harrassed

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  • #377688
    gideon1964
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    For over two years, I dedicated my time as a volunteer on the ARB in my community, and recently, I was elected onto the board. However, I’m facing a troubling situation. There are certain families who strongly resist adhering to regulations and become hostile when their property is cited. At our last monthly meeting, I was verbally assaulted, and since then, one homeowner has been tailing me, even driving by my home every night, despite living on a dead-end street. I’ve reached out to neighbors, but none recognize him.

    This individual’s children are notorious for their disruptive behavior and have caused significant property damage over the years. How can I ensure my safety and keep this person away from me?

    #377689
    grrtfrmn
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    It’s understandable that receiving a violation notice can provoke a negative reaction from most people, and it sounds like your situation is particularly unsettling. I recommend initiating a conversation with him, or if you’re uncomfortable doing so, enlisting the help of another Board member. If his harassment persists, it’s appropriate to request that he stop and make it clear that any further disturbances will necessitate involving the authorities by filing a formal complaint.

    #377690
    hamstercarrot
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    Your situation represents one of the most challenging neighborly conflicts, though these families hardly sound like typical neighbors. Often, those who work to improve our community, even if they make mistakes inadvertently, face criticism from onlookers. It’s crucial to document everything meticulously. Additionally, consider sending a friendly letter to all homeowners, reminding them that breaking rules and verbally attacking those tasked with enforcing HOA regulations is not neighborly behavior. You might also need to organize an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) meeting to address issues before they escalate. However, it’s important to note that you can’t act as judge and jury or convene the ADR meeting officially, to avoid accusations of favoritism, etc.

    It’s worth investigating whether the rules these families are violating are clearly outlined in the governing documents or lawfully ratified. Clarifying this point in your communication to all homeowners, along with publishing the rules and regulations (R&R’s) and sending the mailing certified, could prove a wise investment for future enforcement and mitigate claims of ignorance.

    #377691
    ikirutheowl
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    I’d be genuinely worried about your safety in this situation. This individual may have some serious issues and could potentially pose a threat to you and your family. I strongly recommend contacting the police department and filing a report, even if it’s just to have a record of the incident for any future actions you may need to take.

    Wishing you all the best with this challenging situation. Serving on a committee or board can often feel like a thankless task—I’ve been in similar positions myself.

    #377692
    minhari19
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    As the only woman on our Board, I often find myself the target of angry emails or bullying tactics during public meetings from certain members of the association. It seems that there’s a perception that a man might retaliate later, but a woman is seen as ‘defenseless’, which is far from the truth.

    I’ve had to assert myself on numerous occasions, including one incident where a gentleman made thinly veiled threats towards me. My advice is to take any threat seriously. You never know when harassment might escalate into something more serious. Perhaps one day he may act on his words and approach your door directly. If the behavior of their children is any indication, it’s clear they’ve learned it from somewhere.

    Next time, don’t hesitate to call the police and report any suspicious activity, noting down the vehicle’s plate number and, if possible, taking a photo. It’s essential to document your concerns in writing, prioritizing your safety above all else.

    #377693
    jacobfp
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    Contact 911 and request local law enforcement to make a formal report. Following this, consider establishing a Neighborhood Block Watch Program within your immediate vicinity, with approval from your HOA/BOD. A united front of neighbors looking out for each other sends a powerful message to individuals with malicious intentions in any community. Additionally, if you haven’t already, invest in a security system for your home. Lastly, if you’re not already a gun owner, consider obtaining proper training and acquiring a concealed carry permit. The key is to prioritize the protection of yourself, your family, and your property.

    #377694
    nattacked385
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    I understand the challenges you’re facing. It’s unfortunate that there isn’t an external or neutral entity, like a professional manager, to handle homeowner violations. Relying on volunteer homeowners or Board members can be ineffective, as your case demonstrates.

    If bringing in outside management isn’t feasible, it might be beneficial for your volunteer enforcement group to collaborate with your association counsel and review your HOA’s policies and procedures. The goal should be to make the enforcement process friendly, fair, and firm.

    For example, in my HOA, we prioritize communication and resolution. The initial step involves a friendly phone call to the homeowner in question before resorting to sending a formal violation notice. We’re fortunate to have a dedicated staff member solely responsible for enforcement, given the scale of our community (5,000 homes with 2,500 more planned). This staffer conducts regular patrols, noting violations or following up on neighbor complaints, with the complainant remaining anonymous.

    If the issue persists after the initial contact, a violation notice is sent, followed by a series of escalating actions that may include mediation or fines. Thanks to our clear and deliberate procedures, situations rarely escalate out of control.

    #377695
    grrtfrmn
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    In my humble opinion, having deliberate and transparent procedures is crucial.

    #377696
    profdan_h
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    Everyone: It’s crucial to report any incidents to the police or sheriff’s department, even if you believe common sense should prevail. I made the mistake of trying to overlook assaults and attacks, hoping for mutual understanding. Unfortunately, this approach backfired when it was used against me for not reporting to the authorities. The individual who assaulted me began stalking my child in an attempt to retaliate against me (he was also stalking me). Although the police couldn’t take action on the stalking, at least it was documented.

    I initially hesitated to report the assault due to the emotional nature of inspections, but I learned that those who abuse you in such ways are just the tip of the iceberg. Consequently, I installed wireless surveillance cameras to gather evidence of vandalism and theft, such as stolen election signs, which I promptly turned over to the police. This proactive approach has effectively resolved the problems.

    While I wish I could afford to move away immediately, I take solace in knowing I’ve stood up for justice. The individual who assaulted me eventually admitted ignorance to the word “disparagement” in a deposition, after signing a settlement agreement not to disparage again. This experience reinforces the importance of always reporting incidents to the police, no matter how minor they may seem, and keeping thorough records.

    #377697
    profdan_h
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    BTW: Violence is never justified. It’s essential to differentiate between homeowners’ issues and personal matters. In my case, the assailant claimed his actions were due to my board position, but that’s no excuse. Ultimately, he is personally responsible, regardless of any pretext. Additionally, don’t anticipate full support from the board—this underscores the necessity of reporting such incidents as civil matters to the police.

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