P.D. from Connecticut writes:
I am a board member of a condo association. We have a unit owner that likes to scream and yell at the meetings, swear, use very foul language and disrupt what is usually a very organized monthly association meeting. Can we as a board ask him to leave and, if he doesn’t, can we call the police?
Mister Condo replies:
P.D., I am no fan of individual unit owners misbehaving at association meetings. It is something that seems to be happening more and more at condo association meetings here and around the country. You certainly have every right to maintain order and decorum at your association meetings. Obviously, the first tactic is to ask all meeting attendees to be polite and cordial. Follow the rules and acknowledge those who wish to speak at the appropriate time. If the language gets too colorful, politely remind the offender of the rules of the meeting. If that doesn’t do the trick, then it is time to involve the police.
If you think it will be necessary to ask for help from the police, my advice is to meet with an officer well in advance of the meeting and describe the problem. If possible, invite an officer or community police official to your meeting and offer to let them speak on a timely subject such as community policing. Sometimes, just knowing that the police are a part of your community action team is enough to keep the rabble rousers at bay. However, if the verbal abuse and swearing continue, ask the police what your options are. If you decide to press charges against this individual be sure you understand the ramifications. I would also encourage you to speak to your association attorney who may have further legal advice for you on this subject.
Just how bad can it get? Unchecked violence often escalates to far greater problems. There have been recent cases in Chicago, Arizona, and Louisville where unit owners shot and killed sitting Board members over association issues. That hasn’t happened here yet and I hope it never does. I wish you all the best in solving this problem before it escalates to something bigger.