What can we do about HOA board members constantly threatening homeowners?

Question

Our HOA is constantly threatening me and my neighbors over the most petty things. What can we do about this?

Answer

HOA's have broad authority over homeowners and the use of their property within a planned-unit-development, which may be made up of single-family homes, condominiums, townhomes, or some combination thereof. State oversight of HOAs is usually minimal, although most states do have statutes that govern HOAs. However, unless a statute or the HOA's governing documents reserve a particular issue for decision by the homeowners, all powers are vested in the HOA's Board of Directors.

Because so much power is vested in the Board and its members with so little oversight, it is a common complaint of homeowners that HOA board members abuse their powers.

If you have been threatened by HOA board members, you can do the following:

  1. Set-up a meeting with the entire Board, or the President, and discuss the harassing or threatening behavior. Put the HOA on notice that you will take action if the behavior is not stopped.
  2. If your HOA bylaws allow for it, obtain the votes of your fellow homeowners to call for a special meeting. Move for a vote to remove the offending HOA board member.
  3. Wait until the next election cycle and organize an effort to vote the offender off the Board.
  4. Hire a private attorney to sue the HOA Board for breach of duty, but understand that you must pay for this out-of-pocket and you risk personal liability for any judgment and/or the HOA's legal fees.
  5. If the offending board member's behavior violates state or local criminal statutes (i.e. stalking, harassment, assault), contact the police and make a report.

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