Every Board member knows there are some people who are simply grumps. They enjoy creating a negative environment. While Board members are only human, it’s important to remember to treat grumps the same as any other member of the association. If a Board treats a grump differently, that Board could end up with a case of selective enforcement.
Selective enforcement occurs when a Board enforces a covenant against some, but not all members. This may happen when the Board intentionally takes an action due to a personal issue, as with a grump, or it may happen when a Board takes actions a prior Board neglected to take. Every situation is different, and what may seem like unequal treatment is not necessarily selective enforcement.
The problem with selective enforcement is that it violates the Board’s duty to the members. The Board must enforce the governing documents uniformly, and according to the terms of those documents. When a Board fails to do this, it puts the community at risk. Homeowners targeted for enforcement (or those who feel targeted) may sue the association for its enforcement activities. If the association’s insurance carrier learns of facts that indicate selective enforcement, it may deny or limit coverage. An insurance carrier could also refuse to renew coverage prior to litigation, if it sees evidence of selective enforcement.
Board members have an obligation to follow the governing documents and treat members equally. Grumps can wear on patience and nerves, but don’t let a personality conflict endanger your association!