Ask the HOA Expert: Dissenting Board Member

Written by Richard Thompson Posted On Thursday, 30 March 2023 00:00

Question: Our six member board voted 5-0 to pursue one course of action and a dissenting board member who was not in attendance at the meeting is now undermining that decision with the membership. What can be done?

Answer: The board president should speak to this board member reminding him that he's entitled to his personal opinion but should not misrepresent the board. What does that mean? It's fine for him to state that he did not agree with the vote, but the board is ruled by majority vote. If he continues to undermine that vote, he will find himself marginalized by the rest of the board.

Question: Is it permitted for a property manager or board member to go door to door to try to collect past due assessments?

Answer: Sure, but why do it? The HOA has extraordinary collection powers. Ask nicely. If no response, then swing the collection hammer using a qualified attorney.

Question: Our board enacted a security policy that requires guests to show identification to entry gate guards. Do they have the authority to deny my invited guest onto the property? The board never provided notice that they would be enacting this policy.

Answer: Yes, the board has the authority to enact and enforce this policy. Requiring identification is not the same as denying entry. You live in a gated community for a restrict access to all but invited guests and vendors. This requires certain protocol. While this policy is certainly more restrictive than some, it does deter those with bad intent.

Question: Have you ever heard of a board doing a straw poll to see where majority of members sit on a touchy issue?

Answer: Straw polls are not very effective, particularly for sensitive issues, since the poll does not allow discussion of deeply held feelings and beliefs. Sensitive issues are bound to set somebody off and create a public relations problem for the board.

If there is an sensitive issue, the board should hold a special meeting to discuss it. Rather than have some rambling discussion, there should be a specific proposal to do such and such. Those that like or oppose it will then have something specific to bounce their ideas off of.

Question: We have a member who likes to tell the board how to do business. She wants one of the directors to read her messages (advice) at the meeting and have them incorporated into the minutes if she is unable to attend the meeting. Is this something we should do?

Answer: No. If she has something to say, she should attend the meetings. And even if she did, what she has to say is not appropriate for the meeting minutes. Minutes should reflect board business decisions, not visitor discussions or opinions.

Question: We have a homeowner who purchased a property and did not receive a copy of the governing documents prior to or after closing.  He says that it is management's responsibility to provide these. 

Answer: It is not management's responsibility. It is the unit seller's responsibility. The fact that this new owner did not receive them does not relieve him of the obligation to adhere to them. His beef, if there is one, should be with the seller or the seller's agent. Management can also provide copies at a reasonable charge or post them to the HOA's website if it has one (highly recommended).


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