Category Archives: Preventing Disputes

When Residents Attack

Your condo board has just approved a large special assessment to finance the replacement of an aging heating and cooling system, and your owners are not pleased. But one owner in particular is infuriated by the decision. He shouts obscenities at the board during the meeting and continues to hurl insults at the board president after the session ends, blocking the door as the president tries to leave the room. He repeats those insults every time he sees the president, and bombards the board with unflattering e-mails. Four months later, these verbal assaults continue.

Is this just exceptionally boorish behavior, which the board should ignore? Or do this angry owner’s actions constitute harassment, which you can and should take steps to address?

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All Together Now!

Philip Reid’s small dog, Paolo, is hardly the kind of animal to strike fear in the hearts of children.  Yet two African Muslim girls were anything but delighted as Reid walked the Boston terrier-pug blend on a leash at his culturally diverse, mixed income neighborhood. 

“The girls were running by, and they screamed when they Saw him, and I said ‘He’s not going to hurt you'” recalls Reid.  “They said it’s a religious thing, and I was kind of Shocked.” 

Reid did his homework and learned, sure enough, many Muslims avoid dogs, believing them to be unclean animals.  In fact, Muslims who come into contact with dog saliva are obligated to go through elaborate cleansing rituals. 

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On the Board

Is it dissonance or dissidence? In the beginning, it can be hard to tell. When healthy dialog turns into personal insults, innuendo, gossip, and disruptive arguments, board meetings can get off message and contentious. Left unabated, the board fractures, no one is satisfied and the community suffers. How can a board deal with a disagreeable board member? Each situation is unique, so specific approaches will differ. However, there are a few helpful tactics boards can use.

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Body Talk

As the Treasurer of the board, you’re at a homeowners meeting explaining why fees need to be increased.  “I’m confident that this is the right thing to do and I’m open to your comments,” you say.  A homeowner in the audience is staring at you with arms crossed, lips pursed and fists closed.  Should you be concerned?

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