Legal Question in Real Estate Law in California

Confrontational Homeowner

Someone has posted notices in everyone's door at my condo complex posing the question to homeowners whether they are satisfied with the HOA and the management company. This notice alleges negligence and fraud. However, the notice does not even have the person's name...I can only assume because of fear. I serve in the board and would like to know whether we should go ahead and get our attorney to serve this person. Everyone knows who it is and has seen the person post these notices. My concern is that he is tainting the opinions of homeowners to serve his purpose. Initially, I was fighting for this guy and tried to give him the benefit of the doubt since I too have once experience dissatisfaction with HOA/management. Any advise you can provide would be great...I rather avoid confrontation but now I think it is inevitable.

Asked on 3/27/06, 11:06 am

3 Answers from Attorneys

OCEAN BEACH ASSOCIATES OCEAN BEACH ASSOCIATES
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Re: Confrontational Homeowner

Why don't you ask "your lawyer" ?

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3/27/06, 6:29 pm
Carl Starrett Law Offices of Carl H. Starrett II
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Re: Confrontational Homeowner

The reality is that every HOA has its malcontents and having the HOA lawyer "go after" this person is likely to generate and ever greater backlash against the board of directors. Can imagine how the other owners would react if they knew you were spending their HOA dues on an issue like this?

Take the higher road and be completely open about your operations. If there are problems, tell the membership how you intend to address the problems. But don't be afraid to address the allegations at the board meetings either. If you have a regular newsletter to the membership, it wouldn't hurt to address the allegations in a calm and rational manner.

Consult your HOA attorney for further advice and even consider offering mediation or a forum for this person to air his/her grievances, but don't send the HOA attorney after him/her.

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3/27/06, 11:39 am
Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law
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Re: Confrontational Homeowner

In addition to the practical advice given by Mr. Starrett, I'd like to point out that this owner is probably validly exercising his First Amendment right of free speech. Bringing legal actions to muzzle the exercise of free-speech rights can have adverse consequences for the plaintiff (look up "anti-SLAPP" on Google).

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3/27/06, 12:21 pm

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