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Our Clients Ask Us: Confrontational Owners

Q: We have had some fairly heated meetings because of a specific owner who is often confrontational and has tried to start fights. Can we hire private security at our next annual meeting and charge the cost of the security back to the problem owner?

ANSWER: Yes, you may hire private security, and No, you cannot charge the cost back to the problem owner. Especially if an owner has been violent or confrontational in the past, it is an excellent idea to hire private security for your next meeting. People can get very heated when discussing issues about their homes, so curbing an increased chance of violence is recommended where it is anticipated. The question of whether you may bill the extra cost of security back to that particular owner is a question of enforcement. If the owner violated rules and regulations of the Association in the past, and proper enforcement notice has been given to him regarding the behavior, then it is more likely that you could to try assess him an enforcement assessment rather than charge back for the cost of security. It is difficult to justify pre-billing an owner for an anticipated violation of rules or governing documents. You are trying to punish a behavior that has not occurred. The cost of security is borne by the Association, and if you know that a meeting will be contentious and potentially violent, you should hire private security and/or ask a police officer attend, if your municipality will allow it, to help maintain order and perhaps deter the behavior by the mere presence of security.

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Ott & Associates Co., LPA

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Cleveland, OH 44114

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