The Town Bully

If you write HO-6 or the larger condominium/townhouse master policies than you know the main concerns for residents and managers alike is pools, parking, and pets. Business meeting over a big conference desk

Unfortunately, a small amount of these associations also have the town bully.  I am referring to board members that are drunk with power and influence.   They have signed all the leases and seem to understand the bylaws and declarations of the association.  They will use this influence to break all the rules to harm, defame, or persecute anyone who stands against them.  Some things to consider before entering into a contract with this risk or buy a condominium.

Educate them first

Many of the condominium/townhouse master policy carriers will want to see that the board has attended classes and instruction on how to deal with decisions and residents.

It doesn’t matter what walk of life they are from – carpenters, businessmen, farmers, or lawyers – they should be taking the class.  There will be harassers, offenders, and risk takers showing up to meetings.  As a board member, they cannot just mirror the behavior, but deal with it and eradicate it.

Additionally, if board members have one reason for being elected, they have to understand it’s not just about their issue, but all residents.   I have seen board members join a board, but once their special case is concluded, they never attend meetings again.  Or, if it goes badly, leave immediately.

Bad Board decisions or bullying can lead to lawsuits

I would say 95% of the condo/townhouse boards out there are not likely to see any civil or criminal action against them.  But that small 5% can make up millions of dollars in lawsuits.

In addition to issues like pools, parking, and pets, associations have seen lawsuits against boards and individual board members for being retaliatory, committing fraud/embezzling, and neglecting complaints about odors, and noise.

When there is a claim, you want a board who responds quickly to negotiate and handle repairs in a timely manner.  In recent property manager (NARPM) conventions nationwide hot spot issues of plumbing, mold, and abandonment are discussed. Property managers often bring back insight and assistance on these issues for the board to review.

Nip it in the bud at the beginning

Please remember that board members use this type of public participation as a stepping stone to go into politics.  If you aren’t liking what you see now, imagine how it will be when they are sitting on the town board.  As an agent, your opinion has value as well.

Leave a comment or share an experience.

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