HARASSMENT IN ASSOCIATIONS–BOARD MUST ACT

It has been illegal for a condominium board to discriminate against a unit owner on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, and disability.  What if a resident complains that other residents or even board members are the resident because of membership in one of these groups?  In the past, a board could do nothing or just tell the resident to “work it out.”  The resident had no protections.

Now, because of a federal regulation, Code of Fed. Reg. §100.7(a)(1)(iii), which became effective on October 14, 2016, a condominium board must act on discriminatory harassment complaints.  The regulation requires a board to address a resident’s claims of discriminatory harassment and to take steps to eliminate it.  It does not matter if the harassment is by other residents, individual board members, managers, or vendors.

The Association board is also limited in what it consider in evaluating the claim.  In determining if harassment occurred, boards can evaluate the nature of the unwelcome conduct, the context in which the incidents occur, the severity, scope, frequency, duration, and location of the conduct, and the relationships of the people involved.  The board can not require that a resident prove that the resident suffered any economic, physical or psychological harm.

Harassment can take many forms. It can occur at a board meeting or unit owner meeting when someone makes an inappropriate comment.  Statements by neighbors to a tenant could be harassment.  The board could harass a resident by imposing unfair fines.  Even the creation of a hostile environment can be discriminatory harassment.

Once it receives a complaint, the board must act.  If the board does not act or reacts inappropriately, the resident can file a complaint to HUD or in Connecticut, the Commission of Human Rights and Opportunities (“CHRO”)

The board must investigate the claim. Even if the board determines a complaint is unfounded, a claim of discrimination can still be filed with HUD or the CHRO.  There is no cost for filing such a complaint.   The person complaining can hire a lawyer or file the complaint on their own.  The Association will probably hire a lawyer or have their insurance company hire a lawyer to defend the claim.

Residents should ask their boards to adopt anti-harassment rules that cover everyone in the condominium. Residents need to know that discriminatory harassment is illegal and the board will protect its residents.

Pat Ayars is a Glastonbury attorney who specializes in condo issues. She is a member of the Connecticut Condo Association Advisory Committee.

Share

11 Responses to HARASSMENT IN ASSOCIATIONS–BOARD MUST ACT

  1. Pat,
    I’ll give you a big Elaine Bennis ‘Get Out!’ and push you back for this one! Wow! I had no idea that a fed reg. covered condos in this regard! What an excellent tool. Wow, what else is in there? Thank you for the great work you do. Your friend and colleague,

  2. MJK says:

    Very troubling. What we have here is a case where someone can cry harassment and the condo has to take the approach that the alleged perpetrator of the “harassment” is guilty until proven innocent. Very troubling, indeed.

  3. Good afternoon Pat, I am a resident of a condo in Florida- who can I contact for harassment towards myself as to the facts that our BOARD OF DIRECTORS do not respond to any of my emails, Posted a notice saying that a certain unit owner (me) sent the board a threatening letter (my letter stated there were two dogs in a named unit whose digs did not receive the Rabies Vaccination, and if not done, I would report it to Broward Are Center – – no threats!!!!!).

    Any info will be helpful and thank you
    Andreasandow@yahoo.com

  4. Would you consider Board not responding to owner’s emails for ten months harassment?
    Would you consider that the Board has refused and denies the providing of Association’s Official Records to owner’s that of harassment?
    Would you consider the FACT that the Board has allowed two dogs into the association against rules, harassment as owners are not allowed to have more than one dog?
    Would you consider that the Board chooses and selects certain residents to park in certain car spaces that is contrary to our Governing rules, that dictates ASSIGNED/RESERVED SPACES (as owners deed stipulates) – this is not observed- considered harassment?

  5. I am a deed owner residing in my condo association for 20 years. I requested via certified mail to our management’s office to view Association’s Official Records of legal fees f on an Arbitration case, in which I was the Plaintiff. This request was denied to me as my being told these legal fees are “attorney-client privilege” . Is this correct?

  6. How can Association’s LEGAL FEES be considered “attorney-client privilege”?
    1- The fees can not talk – or repeat- or divulge information
    2-.whom ever prepared the fees, the fees no longer can be considered privilege
    3- The owner who requested the Association’s fees, is in fact , part of making up the Association- and the fees belong to the Assocbiation
    4- The fees were discussed at an open condo meeting- no longer privileged
    5-what can possibly be privileged over legal fees?

  7. Linda says:

    Ok, the Board looks into the harassment and finds it does exist. So now what kind of actions does the law say the condo is allowed to use? Where can I find this law so it can be quoted in the situation?

  8. Christine says:

    This is good news. I was told to move the BEEP (F) out by the President of the our condo association last SEPT as she screamed at me on her deck as I was getting in my car. She denies it, but yet said my name as she said it and said it was directed at another neighbor who was not even outside or could hear her rant. Unbelievable, but true, my property manger told me to “walk away” if it happens again. My question is what kind of proof do you need? Cell phone recorder cam? Thanks.

  9. Tony says:

    In Connecticut seniors are protected under Public Act 97-180 (Exploitation of the Elderly). This was incorporated into CGS, Section 53a-123, a criminal statute that is upheld by the State of Connecticut Department of Criminal Justice. Basically, any thing done under false pretences, “regardless of its nature or value” is a criminal act.

  10. David Lewis says:

    What about discrimination based upon sexualorientation?

    • G Egan says:

      Mr. Lewis – read the article by Atty Ayars regarding HARASSMENT IN ASSOCIATIONS–BOARD MUST ACT posted May 5, 2017n

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *