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HOA argument escalates into complaint of bullying

Updated December 3, 2020 - 2:46 pm

Q: During a workshop for the homeowners association Board Member A made a statement and Board Member B didn’t agree. It turned into an argument. After the workshop, there were text messages and emails exchanged. They have not spoken since that day. Board Member B is claiming that Board Member A was bullying them during the argument and has filed a complaint under the bullying policy of the association.

Do bullying policies really apply when two people have an argument? Board Member B says they suffered emotional distress because of Board Member A. But couldn’t Board Member A claim the same thing? Both of them said angry things to each other.

Board Member B doesn’t want A to communicate with them at all. Board Member A knows about the bullying complaint because Board Member B copied Board Member A in their email to the management company.

Board Member A said they are not going to pursue a bullying complaint because it was an argument, bullying was not involved. Board Member A was going to apologize for their part in the situation and then B sent the bullying complaint email, and now they are not.

These board members have worked together for several years and had disagreements on things before and it’s been resolved. They are not friends, just neighbors. In this situation, it looks like each person pushed personal hot buttons for the other person and they both got very upset and it escalated.

If the bullying goes forward, would the other board members even be able to hold a hearing? We only have four board members. A and B would be out of the discussion.

The remaining board members must have their own opinions of the situation. What if they don’t feel they can be unbiased?

Thank you for your time.

A: Without getting political, we have been living under very stressful conditions over the past nine months. It doesn’t look that these conditions will go away soon. I have observed the tensions as I am sure my readers have also seen in situations where in the past, we would not have considered the incident, “big deal.”

The bottom line is that the two board members need to put aside their personal feelings and work for the betterment of the association and your homeowners. If it comes to the point of a hearing, the remaining board members should have the Nevada Real Estate Division become involved. Contact them and find out what options would be best for your association in dealing with a formal complaint, if one is made.

Q: I have been reading your articles on displaying signs in the yard at an HOA. In our community we have plenty of outrageous signs on both sides. However, we recently had a resident fly a Confederate flag. This is upsetting so many people, including me. Would you please tell me the law on flying controversial flags or signs like this.

Thank you for your time.

A: And I thought that I had seen the last of the flag emails! The only flags that are covered under Nevada Revised Statute 116 protection is the flag of the United States of America and of the state of Nevada. You would need to review the association’s governing documents. Often, flags can be found under architectural guidelines or under the rules and regulations. A regulation with the “least of resistance” is one that states that the only flags that can be flown in the community is the flags of the United State of America and the state of Nevada. Any other flags flying would be in violation regardless of what was written on them. The association would then follow its established enforcement and fine policy.

Barbara Holland is a certified property manager and holds the supervisory community manager certificate with the state of Nevada. She is an author and educator on real estate management. Questions may be sent to holland744o@gmail.com.

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