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Q&A: Dealing With a Belligerent Homeowner

Q. My question is in regards to a verbally abusive homeowner that attends meetings to yell at and berate the board members. I, the board president, was singled out and yelled at during our last meeting and it’s really scary. Some of his issues are with landscaping in the common areas and how the issues are not being taken care of fast enough for him. Because of recent events here in Las Vegas, it scares me even more - it feels like he could just walk into the next meeting and blow us all away.

He also utilizes the Nextdoor neighborhood app to go on rants about the board—by name calling and personally attacking the board.

My question is, what are my (or our) rights as a board when this man does this next time? Am I permitted to ask him to leave the meeting? It’s held in an IHOP restaurant during regular business hours. Am I permitted to tell him that I won’t respond to him until he changes his tone?

As far as his online slander, I plan to contact the moderator of the Nextdoor app upon his next tirade, so it’s the actual meetings that hold my true concern.

 —Fearing What’s Next

A. According to attorney John Aylor of The Clarkson Law Group, which has offices in Las Vegas and Reno: “Pursuant to Nevada Revised Statutes (“NRS”) 116.1083(5), agendas of meetings of the executive board must provide a period of time ‘to be devoted to comments by the units’ owners and discussion of those comments must be scheduled for both the beginning and the end of each meeting. During the period devoted to comments by the units’ owners and discussion of those comments at the beginning of each meeting, comments by the units’ owners and discussion of those comments must be limited to items listed on the agenda.’

“It is customary for associations to allow individuals up to three (3) minutes to provide their own comments during each of the member comment periods required during executive board meetings. Enforcing such limitations should assist the board in timely completing the meeting while also allowing unit owners to provide comments to the board.

“If you are holding your meeting [in] a private, reserved room within IHOP, the association certainly maintains the authority to demand that the disruptive and verbally abusive individual leave the room or immediately discontinue such interruptions and abuse.

“You do not have to directly respond to unit owner comments. You may allow the individual to state his concerns, in a manner that is not verbally abusive or profane, and simply move on with addressing the next agenda item or next person in line to make comments.

“If your association’s governing documents contain provisions prohibiting certain nuisance activity and/or harassment you may also notice the individual of a violation and call them to hearing regarding such activity and ultimately sanction the individual by fine or common element (amenity) right suspensions.

“Additionally, NRS 116.31184 provides the following:

1.  A community manager, an agent or employee of the community manager, a member of the executive board, an officer, employee or agent of an association, a unit’s owner or a guest or tenant of a unit’s owner shall not willfully and without legal authority threaten, harass or otherwise engage in a course of conduct against any other person who is the community manager of his or her common-interest community or an agent or employee of that community manager, a member of the executive board of his or her association, an officer, employee or agent of his or her association, another unit’s owner in his or her common-interest community or a guest or tenant of a unit’s owner in his or her common-interest community which:

(a) Causes harm or serious emotional distress, or the reasonable apprehension thereof, to that person; or

(b) Creates a hostile environment for that person.

2.  A person who violates the provisions of subsection 1 is guilty of a misdemeanor.

“NRS 116.31184 (emphasis added). Accordingly, if the individual’s language and actions are of such a degree that you feel they may violate NRS 116.31184, you may report the individual to law enforcement authorities.

“If you are not holding the meeting [in] a private, reserved room within IHOP that fact raises a couple of different concerns. First, and most importantly, if you are discussing private and confidential association business within a public place you may potentially be violating your fiduciary duty of care in relation to maintain the private and confidential nature of association business. Second, if you are not holding the meeting [in] a private, reserved room within IHOP it may likely prove more difficult to require the individual to leave the restaurant without the backing and requirement of the restaurant itself, leaving you stuck with the disruptive and verbally abusive individual for the remainder or your meeting.

“Preventing someone from defaming you and fellow board members on online platforms such as Nextdoor, may likely prove difficult, however, it is certainly worthwhile to attempt to contact the platform’s administrators to seek assistance in preventing the occurrence of such activity.”        n

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