Harassment from the President of the Condo Association

22 Replies

We just bought a condo for rent a few months ago and has been constantly harassed by the president of the condo association. 

We received three fines, one of which was not even notified. We found out the third fine on our monthly statement from the accounting firm this board hired. The Bylaw states that the co-owner has 15 days after receipt of the fine notice to dispute. But apparently every fine from this board is final. 

The fines include overnight guest without prior approval from the board (not required in Bylaw), offensive behavior of the tenant (we asked the board what the tenant did several times but they never replied), pet violation (the tenant does not have any pets), threatening behavior of the tenant for yelling at complainer for disposing of dog poop (pets are not allowed per Bylaw and the tenant said she even did not see anyone disposing dog poop). 

When we just took the ownership of this condo, the president of the association called me at 7:30AM to question how we found this condo for sale. When my tenant called him asking about the requirement of overnight guest reporting, he said, "your landlord can ask her own DAMN question." and then he hang up on her. He even told the property manager to tell us that he has the right to call us at 1:30AM because the complaint came in at that time. 

We disputed all the fines through email and letters but none of the board members replied. We found out through other co-owners that the president of this association has been imposing fines based on fabricated accusations on many of them, including both landlord and co-owners who live there. 

We contacted an attorney but we were told it's not cost efficient to sue this board or the president of this association. The attorney will help us to reduce or eliminate the current fines but the same problem could happen again. 

What shall we do at this point? Thank you in advance!

can you work with other owners to get one attorney to represent all of you? I believe there are fiduciary duties the board is supposed to uphold, and if you get enough owners together you should be able to get this president to step down.

I know a guy but he never keeps the same name ;)

Honestly I hate people like this and I would do exactly what the above poster mentioned. Talk to all the other landlords/co-owners in the building and collectively sue the sh*t out of him

I used to have a condo with a HOA president just like this one. She was so out of control and treated several owners this way. She was insane. It took a few years but several of us owners banded together and campaigned for whoever ran against her. We finally got her out but the effort to do so was ridiculous. I currently own zero condos btw.

I would contact other owners and start a campaign.  When is the next election for the board, and is there a process by which owners can vote out existing members during their term?   

This is our first time owning a condo as an investment. We will have to try to find out the election process. The problem is that we even don't know whether other board members side with him. We start to suspect that there is potential financial fraud because the board has been so aggressively fine the co-owners. 

When I experienced this it was discovered a couple of years later that there was significant mismanagement of the the HOAs funds. The whole board ended up getting kicked out. I guess they get like this to try to make up for shortfalls. I won't be surprised if there's fraud in your case. Best of luck to you on this matter.

Actually, I would go ahead and hire the attorney or look for one that specializes in HOA/condo management. You probably have a lot of other people that would jump on board, but sounds like you don't know that because you just bought the place.
I don't think this will stop for awhile. Sounds like they don't want rentals in the community, and are harassing you because of this, not right!!
Did you know before you purchased this property, all of the rules and regulations?
I think it's a matter of setting a precedent at this point

Hi Kim,

We heard from another landlord that they were fined based on false accusations too. Also, another co-owner who lives there received three fines for the same allegation and the allegation is not even supported by the Bylaw. 

Based on the conversation with the property manager and the president of the association, it appears that they don't want any rentals. But the Bylaw does not state anywhere about prohibiting rental. When I asked why they did not add that requirement in the Bylaw they did not answer. 

We asked the listing agent and the seller before we made an offer on this condo. We were told that this unit is eligible for rental. The seller was on the board and she never mentioned that there could be a problem. 

Run for the board and get support from these other owners ... make sure the management company gets your resume to run for the board in order to be on the ballot. You have the right to sit before a committee of other home owners to dispute a fine. It does not have to be board members. I'm the president of the HOA were I live.

Hi Marty,

We have sent multiple emails to all the board members but none of the them replied. The notification of fine has different levels of fines varying from $0 for 1st violation to $100 for 4th violation. The fines we received are all $100 for 4th violation even though it should be the first time (if the alleged violation is true). We even did not receive one of the three notifications. We found out the 3rd one on the monthly statement. We believe this board (maybe the president of this association alone) wants to harass us intentionally.  

The governing documents should include the process for elections.   To discuss your concerns with other owners, print out flyers summarizing the issues, leave them in people's mailboxes, and provide your contact information.  If there is enough interest, then coordinate a meeting to discuss them. 

Hi @NA 

@NA Robbins 

I'm not sure how it works in Michigan. In California, if an owner has to hire a lawyer to force the HOA board or members of the board to follow their own CC&Rs, Rules, Bylaws, or the State laws, that owner is entitled to reimbursement of the legal fees/expenses by the HOA. If it works like this in MI, and President's actions are in violation of any of these, it's definitely worth it to hire a lawyer and go after him/her. And, if these actions are a violation of state tort laws (like maybe extortion or harassment) the owner(s) could be awarded punitive damages, if it goes to court.

You don't have to put up with that. Interview a few lawyers until you find the right one. Good luck.

Notify the board that if they fail to answer you within five days you will sue them for Breach of Fiduciary Duty in the amount of three times the amount of the bogus fines. If they don't answer, sue 'em. 

Sounds like they hate landlords and blame all the community woes on transient tenants. Best way to change that is get yourself and some other fellow landlord owners on the board.  This will mean finding out when and where the board meets and attending public meetings prior to running for election.  If you have to go door to door with copies of the proxy form in the week leading up to the meeting, ask if the homeowner is going to come to the meeting or if they returned their proxy already (almost always the answer is no to both questions). Tell them how your experience will positively impact the community and ask them to vote for you on one of the proxies you brought and let you take their vote to the meeting for them. You don't need a political platform, the thinnest reasoning will make the people you get to participate feel like they did a good deed for the neighborhood.

Most jurisdictions have common ownership commissions or boards to handle these matters. 

There are governmental consumer affairs entities and housing authorities that are good places to intitiate remediation activities.

Finally, start a media blitz via the print and electronic media's consumer help units. 

Sell the condo immediately by cutting the loss and all the upcoming stress and headaches.

I read several similar stories online.
One case, the owner sue the HOA and win. However, after the owner win the lawsuit, the HOA board impose more fines to the owner the next 5 years. Eventually, the owner chose to sell the condo 5 years later. The owner regret that he didn't sell the condo 5 years earlier to save himself all the stress, headaches, lawsuit, weekly fines.

I dont get why some people just tell you to move.. That only amplifies these erratic HOA leaders behavior.

What needs to happen is to put these out of control people to task.

I am a renter with an HOA with a president that goes unchecked. This cranky old lady targets single women, tried to run me over with her car, screamed and made threats to me at a hearing (over one of half a dozen issue that were "accidentally" sent to me) I have had to pay over $2000 in fines just to appease my landlord while I file harassment, libel and defamation claims against her..

She has refused to provide my LL with the videos (of course) that show her doing her crazy acts, so, Im taking her to task. I shouldnt have to deal with this crazy woman following me around, lying and saying im doing things I am not, then when I ask for proof ( pics or video), she then has hearings for the "incidents" that have no proof, says the fines are in abeyance, saying if the incident happens again they can automatically fine me without proof.. then starts randomly fining with no proof of an incident.

I moved to this community for a reason, and i am not going to be pushed out by some old lady that everyone is afraid to stand up to.

I have video proof of her screaming and threatening me. I have video proof of an incident w/her where she claims i was harassing her (i asked one question in a calm voice and it was the first time i had ever spoken to her outside of an hoa hearing!) and.3 years later, I now Ihave proof that the second month i moved in, one of the HOAs workers was the guy that ran me over and took off (hit and run).. so, yeah. Im not going to let her get away with bullying and harassing me..

You are likely wasting your time and energy righting the wrongs of the world. The president of the HOA has nothing to lose and you have nothing to win. Moral outrage and righteous indignation are battles best left to the mentially unstable.

It's a bit late to help, but I'm experiencing the same thing. Guy's name is E.Edwards, Sono, CT. I'm a busy parent and the toll for this harassment is more than just a nuisance. The board president (whom I dislike for being a liar) has it out for me, has lied often, and although I'm not sure why, seems to have it out for me personally. A big loud woman from his household was aggressively rude to me in the parking lot, more than once, and in front of my child.

I feel bullied, except they are using legal means. He has destroyed the property's gardens to anger me with the help of (imo) the criminal enterprise Property Group management company, who skim the landscaping budget of $25k yearly. It's crazy! I spoke to several other unit owners tonight and they see what's going on, yet deny they can do anything about it. Just my being upset gives him a win. I tried to find a lawyer, but they all say it's a civil thing. I posted an ad tonight to sell my condo. When I'm in a bigger, nicer, place I'll say it was the spark of motivation.

There are not many avenues to condo help so my advice it don't speak up, don't plant flowers, and don't sink to their harassment. The stress alone is not worth it. Sell at a loss, NO one wants to help. It's a condo.

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