R.K. from Chicago, IL writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
In your archives, are there any suggestions relating in general to long-term solutions for a resident who regularly uses his/her anger, partial legal knowledge, detailed understanding of the governing documents and imaginative, personal accusations to verbally attack and threaten legal action against other residents or Board Members when some decision or event does not please him/her? As a board member I have observed these disruptive behaviors over a six-year period. The behaviors of this resident are becoming more erratic and need to be curtailed in some manner. Appeasement to demands often settles matters until the next event. But rational negotiations have not worked in the past. In a recent instance we incurred significant legal fees from the HOA attorney to tone down the fury. Any suggestions for how these behaviors, or this resident, can be curtailed?
Mister Condo replies:
R.K., like it or not, all unit owners have the ability to make the association and the Board miserable. Everything from rude behavior to questioning every action taken by the Board are fair game. There is a myriad of self-help books on “How to Work with Difficult People” and you may find something useful from them. My best advice for the association is to follow Roberts Rules of Order for conducting meetings and make sure you follow Parliamentary procedure. That means all attendees of the meeting are subject to the rules, which allow for some discussion. Generally speaking, unit owner comment periods are short and unit owners do not participate in the business of the Board. As for general unruliness, Roberts Rules doesn’t allow for it. A large percentage of the population is under medical care for some type of mental illness. We don’t have any way of knowing what makes someone tick or what will set them off. By following Roberts Rules of Order, I do think you can at least get the Board meetings under control. As for the general behavior of this particular resident, I am reminded of the Golden Rule and trying to see it their way before making any judgment. At the end of the day, my guess is he is just as miserable living in the association as the other members are that he lives there. There is no magic pill that will make everyone get along. All the best!