HOA BULLIES – TIME TO FIGHT BACK? October Has National Significance.


OCTOBER has been designated National Bullying Prevention Month. Today happens to be the10th anniversary.

Every October, schools and organizations across the country join STOMP Out Bullying™ in observing National Bullying Prevention Month. The goal: encourage communities to work together to stop bullying and cyberbullying by increasing awareness of the prevalence and impact of bullying on all children. Tomorrow marks the 10th anniversary for October’s National Bullying Prevention Month. PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center started the campaign to bring awareness to bullying prevention.

Why not make this the first day of bringing this special recognition for anti-bullying to the world of homeowner associations and start a cause? Would you say Bullying is a serious problem in homeowner associations across the country?

I sure can attest to the fact that it is a prevailing problem in HOAS given the feedback and questions that receive after every newsletter or blog I do that touches on human conduct.

I am going to dedicate many of my blogs and the E-news this month to dealing with bullies. To start, I have discovered a great resource. It’s a book called TAKE THE BULLY BY THE HORNS by Sam Horn, an accomplished author among many other things. I heard her speak at a recent writers’ conference at Cuesta College yesterday and proceeded directly to the bookstore and picked up the book. I glanced through it and immediately decided, “this information will translate well into HOA SPEAK!”

The subtitle of the book is ” Stop Unethical, Uncooperative or Unpleasant People from Ruining Your Life.” Sound helpful?

What I like a lot about this book is it has not only good information, but actual exercises that help you understand the type (level)of bully that is before you, and active practices to deal with the bully. Understanding these things will help Directors and owners in HOAS deal with the bullies – all the bullies whether they be on owner, another director, or even a manager or attorney! I will walk you through the wisdom of identification and action with the help of Sam.

Over the course of the month I will be bringing salient points and exercises and actual stories to you. If you have a story you want to share (please do not use names) – and I would particularly like to hear some success stories, send them to me through the website at www.californiacondoguru.com. Stay tuned, and if you want to move even faster, get the book!

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3 Responses to HOA BULLIES – TIME TO FIGHT BACK? October Has National Significance.
  1. Sandy Pellerin
    October 22, 2016 | 7:17 pm

    I have recently been served with a notice that my dog Barks all the time”

    This is totally untrue. Yes she barks at the door of a neighbour when we go to visit. Wanting to get in. I have her with me at all times. She is never left at home by herself. I have conformed to all the requirements otherwise. This dog does NOT bark constantly and most of the neighbours have remarked on well she is doing with her barking problem. I feel that I am being harrased because I dared to ask some questions at our annual meeting and the little clique wwe have here doesn’t like to be questioned. Many people I have met here don’;t bring up their concerns as they think they will be shot down.

    How do I respomnd to these allegations and do I have a right to know who it is that complains

    • Beth Grimm
      October 22, 2016 | 9:50 pm

      Barking dogs are an issue in HOAs where quarters are tighter than on acre parcels. In any neighborhood, if 3 people within 500 feet of a home complaint about a barking dog, in California the DA can get involved and file a civil complaint. Not to say that I am in favor or against that, but if I lived next to a barking dog it would bother me. I had dogs all my life since being a child and NONE ever yapped or barked.

      That said, there are two sides to every dispute. Some people are more sensitive than others to barking and some dog owners, like becoming nose-blind to their smell, can become hearing-blind to their barking. The only way to resolve this for the complainer is to log the times the dog barks, day and.or night, how often, and what is happening in the area where the dog is barking. The only way for the dog owner to support their case is – not by denying that the dog barks, but by getting other neighbors to weigh in as to times of the barking and whether it bothers them.

      He said, she said does not work any miracles, it only ramps up the argument. Investigation may be warranted. I did years ago help a young lady with a dog defend her position when there was a dog barking complaint from the neighbor who happened to be on the board. My client said the dog barked only when someone was on the front porch, and no other times. The director got the board to send threatening letters, including one from an attorney. However, through investigation and some telling videos it was discovered that the board member would go and stand on the front porch and with a tape recorder up to the door, record the dog barking, and the dog stopped barking as soon as she left. A couple of videos taken out of a window illustrated this irrational behavior and the other lawyer told the HOA to drop the fines that had been imposed.

      I also years later took a matter to court for an HOA where a woman had 4 dogs who barked all night long and were rambunctious in a bedroom next to an Owner’s master bedroom such that he could not sleep at night. The woman thumbed her nose at the neighbor and the board. It went to court, and she lost – she lost the judgment, the attorney fees, had to pay the association’s and lost the dogs.

      Perhaps here in this case, some objective neighbor intervention would be helpful. Hopefully it is available.

  2. Beth Grimm
    October 22, 2016 | 10:04 pm

    All E-newsletters are archived on my site and available for viewing at http://www.californiacondoguru.com. Thanks for your interest.