Condo Media - May 2018 - 38

More of the Same, Plenty to T hink About

12
MILLION

In 2014, hoarding
was recognized as a
psychiatric disorder
that an estimated two
to five percent of the
population suffers
from. That's nearly
12 million people.
hoarding begets safety and sanitary
woes: fire hazards, vermin, noxious
odors, and other unpleasant or unlawful
conditions. These issues, the products
of the underlying disorder, must be addressed, but again, the lesson from this
year's seminar was one of perspective.  
Associations are not in a position to
treat psychiatric disorders, and hoarders will likely continue to hoard, even
if a board cracks down on the problems
that the behavior has created for the
community. It is important to take this
into consideration in terms of formulating a comprehensive strategy for
resolution, and to spend time defining
what success should look like in different terms.  

38

CONDOMEDIA

Court orders are most certainly
necessary, at times, to correct imminent
threats of damage or injury, but even
these are unlikely to curb the conduct of
the offender (remember, a court order is
not likely to "cure" one of a psychiatric
condition). Associations would do well
to incorporate families or municipal or
charitable service and support agencies
when available to supplement their
approach to hoarding cases. Boards
may also want to consider adopting or
enhancing clear access and clean-up
provisions to leverage the power of their
governing documents in order to monitor
and prevent worsening conditions.  
SHORT TERM RENTALS, AGAIN
Last year in this column we talked about
short term rentals (STRs) and how associations can manage transient unit use
by incorporating or enforcing properly
drafted restrictions. STRs are nothing
new to be sure, but what was new this
year was an exhibitor who advertised a
service that will monitor whether any of
the units at your community are listed on
a STR website (such as Airbnb) and notify you. Necessity, it is said, is the mother
of invention, and what we saw before as a
growing concern has now spawned
a new business model. While neither of us are aware that any
of our clients presently
utilize this type of service,
it could be a useful tool
for certain properties.
Unfortunately, however,
knowing about the STRs
at your community is
only half the battle; enforcement may remain a
challenge if your governing
documents are not up to date.
THE PERILS OF HOSTILE
ENVIRONMENT HARASSMENT
In 2016, the Department of Housing and
Urban Development issued a rule prohibiting Quid Pro Quo ("this" for "that")
and Hostile Environment Harassment,
and extended liability for discriminatory
housing practices based on those prohibited actions.

Standards were established to be used
for assessing claims alleging discrimination arising out of these actions, regardless of which section of the Fair Housing
Act is alleged to have been violated or if
the complaints violate more than one
section. It is important to note that there
is no damages element to claims under
this law. That means that if harassment
is present, it is actionable, and there is
no requirement for the victim to prove
that he or she suffered harm (financial
or otherwise). Even if the victim has
not suffered a financial loss, there is still
liability on the part of an association if it
is found to have committed or allowed to
be committed either a quid pro quo act of
discrimination or maintaining a hostile
environment in housing. In fact, a victim
does not even have to show psychological
or physical harm. Simply stated, quid
pro quo discrimination in housing is an
unwelcome request or demand to engage
in conduct as a condition for providing
housing, or a benefit attached to housing.
Hostile environment, on the other
hand, is unwelcome conduct that interferes with an individual's right to use and
enjoy the property. (The key element
here is the word "unwelcome" which
in light of the post-Weinstein era is
a word that should be defined very
broadly. We suggest if you have any
doubt, consider the conduct
unwelcome.)
Since even a single incident
is sufficient to sustain a
claim, we urge boards to exercise caution at all times.
If your community does
not have one already, developing a harassment prevention policy may help to
clarify expectations and remind
owners and board members alike of
their responsibilities to one another. At
the very least, it will demonstrate that
efforts have been made proactively to
prevent discrimination based on quid
pro quo or hostile environment. The
social and political climate in which we
live continues to be a breeding ground
for hostility, but discourse should be
respectful at all times-not merely for



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Condo Media - May 2018

Contents
Condo Media - May 2018 - Cover1
Condo Media - May 2018 - Cover2
Condo Media - May 2018 - Contents
Condo Media - May 2018 - 2
Condo Media - May 2018 - 3
Condo Media - May 2018 - 4
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Condo Media - May 2018 - Cover3
Condo Media - May 2018 - Cover4
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