Complaint: Distribution of Information By Members

In violation of Chapter 4.2 (55-79.75:1) of Title 55 of the Code of Virginia, Distribution of information by members, the Heatherlea Association has failed to establish a reasonable, effective and free method, appropriate to the size and nature of the condominium, for unit owners to communicate among themselves and with the Board regarding any matter concerning the unit owners’ association.

Heatherlea is a 185 unit condominium community. It a community of members who are technologically dependent and savvy, travel frequently, and work extended hours. The method established by the Board on September 19, 2013, is not reasonable, effective, free and appropriate to the size and nature of the condominium. Typically, the Association communicates with members via broadcast e-mails, hand delivery to each individual unit or posted to mail receptacles throughout the property. The Board has never officially used a bulletin Board to communicate with members. In fact, the Association incurred the unnecessary expense of creating a bulletin board (even though they already have one on the pool house).

The method established for member communications is to post communications for a limited time to a small bulletin board. This method does not reach the 70 offsite owners, disabled or sick owners, or owners unable to visit the bulletin board in the time frame allotted. The size of the bulletin board cannot accommodate multiple postings, postings several pages long or the ease of access if the member provides links to information using hyperlinks (a common practice in today’s world). It is not a free method because of copying/administrative costs. It is also not timely (effective) because e-mail can be communicated immediately versus the time it takes to physically post to the bulletin board. Broadcast e-mails include offsite owners and owners who are not home or disabled. Broadcast e-mails are the preferred method of communication for the Association and therefore should be available for member communications. Broadcast e-mails are reasonable, effective and free.

Here is an example of why the current method is ineffective. On May 9, 2014, ValleyCrest landscaping blanket sprayed pesticides to Heatherlea property violating notification laws and breaching their contract with the Association. KPA failed to notify the community of the pesiticide application breaching their contract with the Association. Heatherlea failed to notify the community in violation of the Virginia Condo Act:

§ 55-79.80:01. Common elements; notice of pesticide application.
Unit owners’ associations shall post notice of all pesticide applications in or upon the common elements. Such notice shall consist of conspicuous signs placed in or upon the common elements where the pesticide will be applied at least forty-eight hours prior to the application.

Having observed the pesticide application, I was unable to effectively notify members and warn them to stay out of the treatment area (and keep their pets out); and to provide them with a material data safety sheet in a timely manner (urgently) due to the ineffective communication method adopted by the rogue Board. The Board did not notify the community before or after application, and the large majority of residents and members still do not know the application occurred. The current method of communication does not allow members to communicate urgent Association matters.

The current Board was not legally elected and has no authority to conduct Association business, including adopting policy. This policy was adopted with no input from the membership and does not comply with the law. It favors communications of the Board and Property Management over the membership at large.

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