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Board Members verbally abusive toward homeowners

After our last HOA meeting was adjourned, I witnessed a homeowner in our community approach two board members and a committee member. Apparently, she must have asked to speak at the next board meeting about some concerns regarding new color/paint schemes.

I became aware of the conversation because these three men – the two Board members and one Committee member were shouting at her, hurling numerous, repeated obscenities. They were clearly verbally attacking her. I was horrified by what appeared to be a raw display of anger.

One other new board member and the community manager were also in the room. Thought the CM and the new board member did nothing to intervene, they were also witness to an incredibly aggressive, hostile display of male rage toward a very calm woman and homeowner in our community.

To her credit, this homeowner remained civil and composed. I watched the confrontation – only 5 or 6 feet away – it was surreal how calm she remained as she re-iterated the reasons for her concern and her request to speak for just a few minutes at the next board meeting.

I was also taken aback by the lack of action on the part of the community manager, typically a very strong and outspoken woman. She did nothing to intervene in this hostile reaction to the homeowner’s request.

A few days later, I contacted the AZ Dept of Real Estate, but learned there isn’t much they can do to prevent this type of board behavior. How can this be?

I feel I should do something about this. Isn’t there some protection for homeowners who are subjected to this type of abusive and harassing behavior?

4 Responses

  1. Dennis Legere

    Rob
    Thank you for sharing this experience. It is something that happens all too often in communities across this state. Unfortunately their are no laws to protect from this type of abuse. Regulating human behavior is not something that the legislature will address other than when it crosses the line to become criminal. My best advice if you witness this again is to record the event on your cell phone and share it with your community. Any board member that treats homeowners has to be removed from office, and taken away from a position of power over other other homeowners. I’ve made sure that every homeowner has the right to record any meeting of he board and that includes interactions of the board with members.
    The greatest power of the homeowners is to elect and remove board members that do not display the values and expectations of the community. Exercise that power and your community will be better for it.
    Having said this as home owners you also have a responsibility to act as this homeowner did and deal with the board with calm and respect for their responsibilities. You may not like their decisions on issues but if they made that decision based on what they truly believed was in the best interest of the entire community, that is why you put them in that position to make the hard decisions.
    As for the community manager his or her behavior is typical of what I’ve experienced. While the HOA trade organizations continue to advertise that professional community help boards run better communities, from my experience they seldom do anything to correct or help mitigate bad behavior of board members and thereby add no value to the community in this area. As I’ve said in many of my responses if the HOA industry really wanted to make these communities better places to live and to improve property value they would train their community managers and attorneys to help advise these board members on what they should do and behave rather than to focus on what they can get away with.
    As for the homeowner involved thank her for me for not being intimidated by the boards behavior. You would be appalled how many times I hear from single or elderly women who have been treated in the same way by boards and community managers. You can all be assured that that behavior would not have happened if a man raised the same question. All the more reason to remove these people from a position of power in the community.

    Dennis

    1. Chris Nelson

      I know this is an older post but I would like to add my two cents. My community is mostly rental units so most of the owners do not participate in board activities. The few non-rental owners do not get involved because the board is run by bitter women that makes sure that everything is their way and not what’s best for the community. Last night was elections here and for 2 years I have been pushing to become a member of the board because I want to know the internal workings as to why our board refuses to enforce our CC&Rs unless it’s against their ‘hate list’. For 15 minutes last night I was berated about how I was not board material because I’ve taken up an unofficial neighborhood watch position because crime is growing by the day in my community. Even males get treated horribly by boards for being concerned with how things are being done that affect the boards power to feel superior over the homeowners. Long story short, I did not make the board again because the only votes, besides mine, turned in were the board voting to keep the board the same and having a field day attacking me. I would say I’m upset but I’m not because I saw the same thing last year with their fraudulant election where I was a shoe in until the board did a write in nomination that doesn’t even live in community and never shows up to meeting.

  2. Patricia

    I wanted to add my thoughts here because I too was recently abused where a board member came out and called me fat and then gave me the middle finger obscene gesture. I cannot speak without the board being rude to me. I’ve seen the President abuse other HO’s. I just don’t get why these personality challenged people run for the office. Same person won’t return phone calls or e’s of residents she does not like. The Community Manager is non-effective but has a great accommodating personality at the meetings and then immediately turns her back to HO’s and hides in her office. It’s a war zone. Don’t buy in an HOA.

  3. Joseph Allan

    I have a board HO meeting in March and plan on bringing up serious safety and financial issues. I am told to expect the same treatment as described above.
    One for the questions is to show the Homeowners proof of funds in deposit for the HOA. I am told that the Secretary will not produce the doc’s
    Other than hire a lawyer. What can I do?

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