Should an HOA Have an Anti-Harassment Policy?
Homeowner associations (HOAs) are responsible for maintaining a safe and comfortable living environment for their members. Unfortunately, disputes between homeowners can arise, including cases of discrimination based on a protected class status. Protected classes include race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, national origin, age, marital status, sexual orientation, and gender identity. You must be prepared to handle these matters in a timely and effective manner.
An HOA is obligated to investigate any complaints of harassment or discrimination within their jurisdiction, as well as take appropriate action if necessary. In addition, most insurance carriers require HOAs to have anti-harassment policies in place before they will provide coverage. Therefore, it is important that you create an anti-harassment policy if your HOA does not have one already.
What Should Be Included in an Anti-Harassment Policy?
Your anti-harassment policy should clearly define what constitutes harassment or discrimination and outline how the board should handle any complaints that arise within the community. It should also include procedures for filing complaints against other homeowners, and it specifies what disciplinary action may be taken if a complaint is found to be valid. Keep in mind that all policies must comply with state and federal laws; therefore, it may be wise to consult with a lawyer before finalizing your policy.
An HOA should enforce their anti-harassment policy in a couple of ways. First, they should make sure that the policy is clearly communicated to all members of the community so that everyone is aware of what type of behavior is unacceptable. The policy should be accessible and easy to understand so that homeowners know exactly what the consequences are if they violate it. Additionally, the HOA should follow up on any complaints of harassment or discrimination in a timely manner and take appropriate action if necessary, such as issuing a warning to the offender, requiring them to attend sensitivity training, or even evicting them from the premises.
Ocean City HOA Lawyers at Oliveri & Larsen Can Help You With Your HOA Policies
An HOA may not be a place you often think of as needing an anti-harassment policy. However, there are circumstances where it can be beneficial or even required. If you need an anti-harassment policy for your HOA, speak with our Ocean City HOA lawyers at Oliveri & Larsen. Contact us online or call us at 410-295-3000 to schedule an initial consultation with our experienced team. Located in Annapolis, Maryland, we serve clients in Ocean City, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Calvert County, Harford County, Howard County, Queen Anne’s County, St. Mary’s County, Worcester County, Kent County, and the upper and lower Eastern Shores of Maryland.