Homeowner associations, like other organizations, are often required to balance the needs of the individual property owner against the needs of the subdivision or condominium building. An HOA in the Santa Clarita Valley recently learned this over a scandal involving an email list of its members.
The 900-member homeowner association is located in an area susceptible to wildfires. As a means to protect its members and provide them early warning of danger, the association proposed a plan to provide a local radio station with an email list of members. The goal was to allow the radio station to notify its members of potential danger via email. The members would have been given the opportunity to 'opt out" of the email list.
The HOA board met with unexpected resistance from its members as many resisted the attempt to publicize their email addresses. With the rise in identity theft and privacy concerns, they fought the method of having their email addresses shared without their consent. After several contentious meetings, the association board abandoned the proposal. They are in the process of submitting a new proposal where the association members opt in to the list rather than the opt-out method.
The situation shows that an HOA board sits for the benefit of its members and is expected to take their concerns into account. Board members can be removed if enough owners believe the board is not acting in their best interests. If a property owner in an HOA is having a serious problem with the association or a neighbor, they could get legal assistance from a lawyer.