Social Media in Your Community

Post responsibly: How to avoid legal risks and negative effects on social media in your community by Kiara Candelaria | CAI, May 14, 2019   Social media tools are a great way for community associations to increase engagement with their residents, but they can leave communities vulnerable to potential legal risks if managed inappropriately. Adopting a social media policy can allow communities to assign responsibility over its use and minimize abusive practices, says attorney Katrina Solomatina of Berding & Weil in Walnut Creek, Calif. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Nextdoor, as well as websites, online newsletters, and email blasts, allow community associations to facilitate communication between homeowners, provide real-time updates, and give members the ability to offer instant feedback to the board. At the same time, social media can be abused by users through practices such as cyberbullying, defamation, and invasion of privacy, Solomatina notes. Comments made through social media can have a negative effect on a community. That’s why it’s important for communities to determine who will manage and update social media platforms, who will monitor and respond to comments, who can control or remove content, who can post, and what type of content is prohibited. Community associations should adopt a policy that…Read more

Bullies should not be tolerated in HOA meetings

Q: I’ve been on our HOA board for a number of years. At a recent meeting, one of the homeowners started to yell at me. We have five members on the board but at the time of the meeting, we only had three positions filled. A motion was made and this homeowner made horrible remarks. He kept shouting and pounding on a table. He thought that the board was illegally voting on the motion because we only had three board members. He came across the table. He did not hurt me but I was scared. Our management representative and other board members tried to intervene and we tried to keep the meeting moving but he wouldn’t stop. What should we have done? A: The moment that anyone, be it a homeowner or a board member, acts in a most disrespectful and possibly harmful manner, the meeting needs to be either recessed or adjourned. If recessed, the board and the community manager can try to settle down the member; if this fails, then the meeting needs to be adjourned. A warning letter should have been sent to the member by the association’s legal counsel. The letter should have stated that if he continues to conduct themselves…Read more