Re: HOA anti-harassment model language
From: Sharon Villines (sharonsharonvillines.com)
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 2021 17:00:47 -0700 (PDT)
> On Apr 16, 2021, at 2:03 PM, Melanie Mindlin <sassetta [at] mind.net> wrote:
> 
> It has come to our attention that, according to a 2016 federal law, 
> Homeowners Associations are now legally responsible for a couple of different 
> issues involving harassment.  It is recommended that new language be included 
> in HOA governing documents that define harassment and address these issues.

I think using some of the language in the first article in the legal advice is 
good. The second article from a legal firm is biased against residents. One of 
the least offensive statements concerns residents running to HUD.

> When harassment is alleged, boards must investigate. If the board determines 
> a complaint is unfounded, unhappy parties can run to the Department of 
> Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and complain against the board. Under new 
> federal regulations, HUD will have authority to investigate the board.

The first article’s quotes the legal advice:

> • Don’t look the other way. Act promptly on complaints from residents, 
> especially when they relate to discrimination of a protected class.
> • Don’t wait for the resident to complain if you hear of discriminatory 
> harassment from another source.
> • Educate board members and employees/agents about the types of 
> discrimination they should look out for.
> • Adopt and publish Anti-Discrimination Policies—that will help educate and 
> put owners on notice as well.
> • Enforce your rules to help end discriminatory conduct.

Cohousing communities aren’t normally large enough to have employees but 
situations could still happen with service people who rather than deny services 
offer extra services. Hired to do one thing but offer to do other things as 
well if…

But I think the larger requirement is that boards be aware that this is their 
responsibility. They can’t ignore it as not their business or my favorite, 
“There is nothing that says we have to so we don’t.” Or this is a personal 
issue, they should work it out. (All discrimination and harassment is a 
personal issue.)

We had a resident who was an administrative law judge. She had been harassed by 
a resident in a former condo to the degree that the FBI got involved. In 
discussing this she said, a primary responsibility of the board is to protect 
the rights of individual homeowners.

From her recommendations and the language above, I would suggest:

> On behalf of the Association, the Board or the Board’s designee is 
> responsible for proactively investigating and resolving any instance of 
> discrimination or harassment reported to or observed by the Board or other 
> Association members. Discrimination and harassment will be included in 
> community training on decision-making and community life.

Not sure about “community life” but something like it. We are in the midst of 
amending our Bylaws (after 20 years). We have a provision that says any 
activities in the community cannot violate any laws or provisions of the DC 
laws. And;

> No nuisance or use or practice which is a source of annoyance to, or a health 
> or safety hazard for, the Condominium residents or which interferes with the 
> peaceful possession or proper use of the Condominium by its residents shall 
> be allowed in the Condominium.

We could be more

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