R.C. from Florida writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
What can unit owners in Florida do when bullied, followed, harassed, watched, threatened, etc. by condo association members and property manager? Especially when a lot of us are elderly and/or disabled physically in some way? Can you at least point me in the right direction?
Mister Condo replies:
R.C., I am sorry you and your neighbors find yourselves bullied, harassed, threatened or otherwise bothered by anyone, let alone the folks who govern and manage your association. True bullying, harassment, and threats are criminal offenses which should be reported to the proper authorities, including your local police department. Short of that, you might want to speak to an attorney who specializes in elder law to see what types of protections you are offered. The Property Manager works for and reports to the Board of the condo. You and your fellow unit owners have elected the Board to serve. If they aren’t doing the job properly, it’s time for a new Board. The condominium’s governance documents spell out the rules, regulations, and enforcement procedures for the condo. I guarantee you that bullying and harassment are not a part of those documents. In my experience, the best remedy for a condo bully is to stand up to him. That may mean removing him or her from his position of authority. It may even mean calling the police or bringing suit against him or her in a court of law. Bullies like victims, not folks who fight back. In Florida, you might want to check out the Department of Elder Affairs website to see if there are local resources to help you as well. You can find the information online at https://reportabuse.dcf.state.fl.us/Adult/AdultForm.aspx. Good luck!
25 thoughts on “Condo Bullying and Harassment”
Placed Law Suit against my Condo Association
A few weeks ago! The Board has been completely not managed properly! Many of
Our Docs are not being followed!
Property Manager is acting as a Board Member!
Much bullying has taken place. We pay extremely high fees, and if they object to your demands, your property around the house is not being done among other damages to my Unit which they are responsible to take care of!
I haves been told “To Drop Dead” with other
Board members present!! Etc, etc, etc!
Had to file a law suit that I have been paying for. However, I am told that will be recoverable…….Suit has been filed in County Court, awaiting Attorney investigation and the Laws that have documented are match for my claims
I’m going through a similar problem and it’s very scary because I’m a woman and on my own in a senior community.
The men are harassing me and I could use some help.
Ps I hope you don’t give up, it’s very tricky.
I have 80 yr elderly Dad living in a Condo in NC, he recently got a girlfriend who comes over with her dog to visit. They are threatening him becuase there are no dogs allowed. He thought it was ok, since the dog is not his…but they say no dogs no way, never not even to visit & will not allow the dog over. Does this sound extreme? They said it’s in the rules.
K., like they said; it’s in the rules. Many associations ban dogs for many reasons. No, this does not sound extreme to me at all. Good luck!
I am disabled, panic attacks, osteoarthritis, 60 yrs old, property mgr. Sending me letters of harrassment , have not had my snow done in 5 yrs.
I was being bullied by my board so I ran for the board. I figured if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, and then beat ’em. Once I became a board member, the bullies on the board resigned! The problem is, the bullying by the former condo president got even worse.
I stand up to him on a regular basis but it is a very hostile situation. Also, now that I am a board member, I have to be careful. I know he is trying to trick or trap me into doing something questionable. It feels like junior high school and most of the residents are on his side. Fortunately, he is a snow bird and will be leaving soon. That will give me time to decide if I want to continue to live like this. I am a single female age 60 and he is married age 75 and acts like a 12 year old. If there was some way to stop this, then I could write a book and become very wealthy!
I reported MIOSHA on our Condominium. This resulted, in the painting being halted immediately with the painters being escorted out of the building. Painting finally was resumed on July 10th. Meanwhile, we needed to have a company come in and sample each hallway for asbestos and silica contamination. This has resulted in several thousand dollar cost for the analysis and a possible fine imposed by MIOSHA. We may need to pay for this cost via an additional assessment. And they are telling the other co-owners to make them anger about the extra cost. And make me afraid of other co-owners resenting me and what might happen to me.
Please Help! Should I get legal help?
M.B., I am sure you acted bravely in what seemed like a desperate situation. You should be heralded for your actions which likely kept both unit owners and workers safe. The Board has no business directing the anger of homeowners towards you and if you feel the need to hire an attorney, by all means do it. It is already a bad situation. The Board needs to remain calm and address the problem. Creating friction between unit owners does nothing but create additional problems. Good luck!
Hi my complaint is about constant harassment and bullying by our homeowners association and the new management which is basically when the bullying really began, they have sent us at least 5 or 6 are far with each letter always coming from their Law Group never from them first, but the first line always of there law group’s letter to us is always that the homeowners association has notified the lawyers that despite multiple attempts to request that we bring her unit into compliance you have not done so today of this letter that’s always how they begin, well to begin with that’s a lie, I don’t believe we have ever once received any sort of notice either on our door, or in our mail, or just in person from one of the HOA members or management, before we always end up with an attorney’s letter stating despite their multiple attempts to get us to comply. Now this last lawyer letter received two days ago but dated the 15th of September with today now being the 24th of September the complaint is now about me having my business that I run out of my condo and they’re saying I’m running an unauthorized, untaxed, unlicensed business so I’m looking to get a DBA on my business very quickly hoping that will appease them, but I really would like to find out what our rules and regulations are in and I’m trying to find them online and can’t find them anywhere but this place is awful and it’s been one thing after another after, another after, another even down to having bed bugs brought into the the entire condominium complex with us then getting them about two weeks after our neighbors above has complained about having them and we have spent thousands of dollars on chemicals trying to get rid of them and they have come into our home with two separate companies for Pest Control and the first two three times they came they found nothing then the last two times they came with this new company every time I leave the room or turn my back to do something there happens to be a random bug even though we’ve not seen any in months now because we keep treating Because the Internet said to treat for at least a year after not seeing any, so we’re feeling like they’re planting them in order to pin them on us but somehow we’ve we did end up being pinpointed as the people that our unit out of the 4 in the condominiums that are joined together is the only one that’s going to be treated which means more than likely they’re going to try hit us with this large bill, for something that started somewhere else you can’t even point out where these things began. So when I ask the pest control man why just our apartment or condo is being treated and not the other three or the one initially started at which is upstairs he basically just said because we found that large bug now we’ll start here and it will treat all four units because we’re going to heat treat. Which to me sounds absolutely ludicrous considering he said the unit upstairs when he ever he gets there it stinks of bleach so strong can barely breathe so clearly they’re doing some heavy cleaning before they come, the lady next door downstairs won’t even let them in and I’m not sure about the other lady upstairs. But we cannot seem to figure out why they are pinpointing them on us and if we’re going to end up being billed for them treating us entire building from our unit do we have a right to tell them no you can’t treat our unit treat a different one rather than making six people with two dogs leave their home why not just ask one lady leaves her home daily anyways and treat hers if you’re going to treat all four!?! Since we only have partial rules and regulations that we got when we first bought the place and they’re about 37 years old we don’t know if there’s any updated rules and regulations and I was really hoping to be able to find them online or somewhere without having to confront the HOA or the management in order to get it and receive it or their lawyers office. So we don’t really know what to do at this point but it’sit’s just one thing after another, after another, with these people than they are constantly attacking us but this latest violation letter like I said was about my business, so I guess my question is if I get a DBA on my business is that enough and it’s been said that I am considered untaxed which I paid taxes for everything that I purchased for my business and when I make a sale I saw through PayPal which also charges a 5% sales tax so I guess my other option is also to get an EIN number even though the IRS website states that my business isn’t considered one that would be in need of one, but I think it’s best that I have it just in case for the HOA to show that I have it as well as the DBA. My mother has had two strokes and the past few years and I’m just terrified because she’s elderly and disabled that this is too much for her to handle and she’s going to end up having another stroke or even a heart attack from the constant threats, harassment, bullying, from all these violation letters we keep getting. We keep our unit clean outside as well as inside and we stay to our self and are very friendly with everyone and have not had an issue with anyone except for one woman who has an issue with everyone she’s an older lady who’s just that way and causes issues and is constantly making complaints to the president on everyone about everything I just feel at this point we should be allowed to be living in peace and not constantly wondering when the next letter is coming in. We’re sick of them being a nuisance to us and the constant attorney letters stating they tried to contact us when they never do. So my question is what can we possibly do to stop this from happening and stop the harassment and stop the letters and the threats of having foreclosure on our condo that we own? And do you know if there is a specific place online where I can find the rules and regulations and that sort of thing, so we can know what we’re dealing with because there are other businesses that run out of their condos as well they clean houses and that kind of thing one lady that actually Parks right next to us has signs on her car even that says she’s a licensed home cleaner when in fact after speaking with her she is not licensed yet she said she has to pay a $500 fine first in order to do it because of being delayed on whatever it is. So if other businesses are running out of their homes like I said they’re carrying their buckets of cleaning supplies and that sort of thing to their cars back and forth every single day what’s the difference between me carrying my boxes that I mail out to the post office every single day?! I don’t even have the mailman come pick them up because he has a doctor’s note stating he can’t lift over 40 pounds so I have to bring them to the post office myself once or twice a week. There is nothing outside that even shows that I have a business in my home so we aren’t even know how they got the two names of my business my older name that used to be and now my new name as well as information on it. Thank you so much for your time hopefully I’ll have some sort of an answer for me that helps us in regards to what we can do to protect ourselves from this harassment that’s constantly happening and from possible enormous Pest Control bills and spines leans as possible foreclosures even. I really need to find the rules and regulations and anything else I can possibly find on them so I can no my information before I go doing things without properly being prepared
A., that’s quite a story. I am sorry that you are having such difficulty with your HOA. If you haven’t already done so, I would recommend consulting with an attorney to see if you have any complaints with your association that rise to a legal challenge (lawsuit). At the very least, you might need some help interpreting your Rules and Regulation or CC&Rs to see if there are some simple steps you can take to bring your unit and your business into compliance with the governing documents. At the end of the day, if the rules are too stringent for your lifestyle, it might be time to look for a community with less rules or a single family home where you will abide only by your own rules. All the best!
I was once in the same situation as you and filed a complaint With Fl. DBPR
And it did cause for a special assessment regarding the replacement of our 26 yr. old roofs that were causing leaks into many units.
The Board had not properly funded the Roof Reserves for years
And although I felt strongly about making the complaint, I advise that communication with other owners to join the cause is advisable so you avoid what you are going through at this time .
I will never dO it alone again!
Take care of yourself and if you feel harassed report it to the police.
We have owned two condos in Florida and have found it very problematic in short. The condo BOD are all absentee snowbirds who control all or hire incompetent and greedy managers who talk the good talk, but are not effective and FL condos have a snowbird mentality where they do not take care of anything for six months. Most condos do not maintain the property well nor fix things quickly, it can be frustrating. Most condo managers have no college education or professional or ethics training other than from the 18 hour online CAM Lic cert they get which is not enough. There tend to be a lot of games and older people treating other older people so badly. Most BOD members are shark types of people, major egos, little education, insecure, pretentious, power hungry control freaks and bullies. There are few peacemakers or good people on condo boards and few good managers, we have had so many over the years, each with problems. I agree with the author above, that if you are used to living in a house and want to live in FL, have a house, as condos in Florida are very problematic for many reasons and yes one of them is bully BOD members, managers, and a lot of mediocrity. Thanks for your article!
Most definitely. Florida Condo living is a nightmare under Florida’s laws that do absolutely nothing to stop the victimizing of the Unsuspecting buyer’s coming down from the North. Think twice before you leap. Especially be aware that the majority of Condo Associations and Boards are run by power hungry bullies. Referred to as Florida’s (Condo Commando’s.) Unfortunately when you sign a contract with a Condo Association, HOA, you are actually signing all your Constitutional Rights away with NO provisions for your own protection and quality of life and are at the mercy of these Condo Commandos. One of the biggest scams of corruption in this State and is refusing to address. Far as I’m concerned to live in Florida is to give up all your rights as and American Citizens. Rights we and our forefathers fought, sacrificed and died for. It’s a state run by money hungry Dictators, bullies, unethical attorneys and corrupt politicians, whose only agenda is to make big big money praying on Baby Boomers and unsuspecting Seniors. Scams galore and crooks run rapid here. The police and authorities can do nothing as they say they’re unable to help or keep up, due to their inability to in force Constitutional Laws etc. I wish I was aware 7 years ago before I move here. I know some will take exception to my comments but there are thousands of us out here that feel exactly as I and would have appreciated red lights flashing warnings when making such a major change in lifestyle and investment. Not saying to not move here, just know, moving here will be like moving to a 3rd World Country that care not for the protection of its citizens. Big culture shock! Do your homework big time before you decide to move here. Not for the weak hearted or unaware, you’ll be eaten alive by the unconscionable corruption here.
My condominium association disconnected my unit’s power, electricity & water while knowing that I was occupying my residence in the complex. Thus leaving me vulnerable before and during a storm, all the while I was a good tenant being current in all of my utilities and bills no delinquencies. I contacted the maintenance worker and board several times to turn my services back on during this event timeline as I had nowhere else to go, I was nearly fatally impacted and has nothing for 5 days and nights. This event led to later job loss and emotional distress along with other damages.
J., another unfortunate story. I hope you contacted an attorney to see what legal avenues were available to you. From what you have described the association had no reason to turn off you utilities. You mentioned that you were a tenant. Is it possible that your landlord wasn’t making timely payments of fees to the association? In that case, you might have a case against your landlord instead of the association. Either way, it shouldn’t have happened the way it did. Good luck!
Thanks Mr. Condo. The Board Member of our condo was just caught buying furniture from a friend (who just opened a furniture catalogue business) and paid an $800 commission (condo money) on top an $8,000 purchase without any bids or notice to owners. Owners forced the Board Member to stop the sale. Should the Board member be forced to resign? We don’t want a potential thief on the Board. Any suggestions?
D.B., I edited your comments a bit to keep things civil. I would give you similar advice to what I told R.C., namely that the electorate needs to keep unscrupulous Board members in check. If this Board member has violated governance documents or state law by awarding a purchase without a bid, you could certainly ask for their resignation. If they are unwilling to resign, you can always ask for a recall (a bit tricky) or simply vote them off the Board when their term comes up. Of course, that requires having another volunteer ready to serve in this person’s place. all the best!
A Board Member may be removed from the Board by a Recall which is done by the majority vote of the homeowners.
I have lived in my Fl. condo for 23 years and have served on the Board. Your Association has a bigger problem if one Member can have access to Association funds to purchase what you have stated.
What did the other Board Directors do? Did they hold a Scheduled Meeting to vote on the purchase? That is how a Board notifies owners by posting an agenda to discuss Association Business and give owners an opportunity to voice their opinion but it is the fiduciary duty’s of the Board to vote on approval.
We have a condo BOD president who is a bully, he creates a lot of problems at our condo, most say he is a bully and know how he operates. He drives fast, does what he wants, and ignores concerns owners bring to him. He doesn’t want to hear the truth and his presidency has gone to his head with a huge ego. He really is a bully. He wants to discuss rules of civility with the association. Ironically, it is him that is not civil and he lashes out at owners and disregards and ignores most concerns where we live. He puts so many rules in place, but no one follows them and he does not enforce them as the supreme leader. What can owners do about a BOD president like this who is a bully and tries to control all and treat all poorly, but then wants us to all be civil, when it is not coming from him?
J., why not vote him out of office at the next election? As long as he is returned to office, the behavior will continue. I am sure there are other volunteers from within your association up to the task. All the best!
What about when owners bully the Board or Officers? My association has an owner that wanted to be Secretary. Started to bully the Board then quit when owner didn’t get their way. Owner said they quit because the Board isn’t doing to things correctly and that makes them a liability? Now the owner is trying to catch Board members doing things they shouldn’t on purpose. This owner is condescending, rude, intimidates everyone, bullies and sends emails to all of the other owners (no longer on Board) excluding the Board stating the Board is violating the regulations, specifically the Secretary. Owner thinks an Officer has to be a Board member (bylaws say otherwise) and because the owner quit, the Board voted another Board member’s spouse to be the Secretary to finish out the term. No one else would do the Secretary job. The owner continues to harass the Secretary stating they shouldn’t have access to the Board emails and makes demands for the Board meeting agendas. The owner also tape records meetings. Owner won’t say they are taping recording. They say they are allowed which is true however they but don’t announce it (Florida is 2 way). Shouldn’t the owner be announcing if people don’t like it they can leave. Is there any steps to stop this? Other wonderful intelligent Board members want to quit. The other owners want the Board to remain and wish the harassing owner would move.
K.S., there is a difference between being a recalcitrant association member and a bully, although it is a fine line and I can understand the reluctance of volunteers to serve on the Board with such a rude owner making the job uncomfortable. I am not an attorney and offer no legal advice in this column. The Board should work with the association’s attorney to see if they have any legal remedies available to them. If laws are being violated by making unannounced recordings of meetings, the Board may be able to get a cease and desist order. The same may be true of unsolicited emails although free speech is a protected right. Slander, on the other hand, is not. Again, speak with the association attorney to see what the options are.Other than that, you can hope this person comes around or, better yet, decides to move out. Good luck!
With my condo association, the BOD President is nearing the 8th consecutive year in office and has served on the BOD for far too long. Unfortunately few people in the community want or have the ability (due to meeting days & times) to run for BOD. The property management company has failed to properly manage the contractors for lawn care, pool maintenance, etc. after receiving several complaints of ongoing issues. Recently, I have reported the illegal activities/failures of our contractors, which have included illegally dumping down a storm drain, failure to post notices after commercial pesticide applications, and failure to notify residents of public health and safety concerns with pool maintenance and bacterial overgrowths. As you can imagine, I am not a favored person of the BOD or management company right now. They were discussing sending me a notice scolding me about contacting authorities about these shortcomings on halting illegal activities. So, I took it upon myself to write a lengthy email pointing out the inadequacies or their property management and their failures to address the issues despite lengthy prior notice. I also let them know that it was deplorable behavior to bully or harass residents who take it upon themselves to report such violations to proper authorities after property management and the BOD has failed to properly address the issues and that residents have every right to report illegal activities and contractor activity to any regulatory agency they wish and that it was the duty of the BOD and property management to prevent issues from needing to be reported and to be more proactive and provide preventative maintenance and preventative control measures rather than penalize owners for reporting shortcomings. And yes, I am now the target of bullying, harassment, and attempted legal pressure by the BOD, property management and the members of the community who are friends of the BOD. However, legally, I do not think they have any course of action they can pursue against me and I refuse to let bullies and incompetent people pressure me to back down from what is legal and right. What else can I do to protect myself at this point?
Determined, I am sorry that you are being bullied and/or harassed. The real problem would be seem to be that more competent volunteers are unwilling or unable to serve on the Board. You mentioned dates and times of Board meetings as a deterrent but those could be changed to more amenable times. Unless better volunteers come forward to serve, you will likely find that little changes. As for the frustration you are feeling with the management company, it is likely that they are simply fulfilling their agreement with the Board to the Board’s satisfaction. The Board, and only the Board, has the ability to direct the work and even continued employment of the management company. As I said earlier, if the Board doesn’t change. it is likely that you will see any other change, regardless of who you complain to. Perhaps you should consider being part of the solution? Why not throw your hat in the ring and serve on the Board. Then you would have the power to make change and better enjoy your condo living experience. All the best!
I am an owner of a Fl. Condo for many years and had served on the Board.
Unfortunately, too many owners complain but do not want to take the time and effort to serve on the Board or even take the time to attend the Scheduled Meetings.
We have had the same Directors for eight yrs. because no one wants to run for the Board and therefore we do not even have an election.
I had to make complaints after being ignored about trash pick up to our County. The Board was paying for pick up once a week and I sent pictures to the county supervisor:,he advised the Board they needed to increase the number of
Pick ups. Of course, they did so at his direction.