Q&A: Strictly Confidential

Q My question is about the board’s handling of complaints and due process. When a management agent of a condominium receives a complaint from a homeowner about another homeowner, is management allowed to tell the homeowner the name of the complainant and exactly what the complaint was for? Is this ethical and is there a real estate rule about how managers are supposed to respond? Is there a specific standard procedure?”

—A Matter of Trust

A “Management companies often learn about rule violations through the complaints that they receive from the residents that live within the communities that they manage,” says Matt Zifrony, a director with the Fort Lauderdale-based law firm of Tripp Scott. “Management companies are simply not capable of discovering every rule violation on their own. Although there’s nothing that prevents a management company from sharing the name of the complaining resident with the resident that’s alleged to have violated a rule, and doing so will inevitably create friction amongst the residents. This will likely result in the management company receiving fewer complaints which will allow for more rule violations to go undiscovered. With the foregoing in mind, every association should enact a policy as to how they deal with rule violations.In just about all cases, that policy should include a commitment on the association’s part to maintain the confidentiality of any unit owner that it receives a complaint from.”

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