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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 28755
Experience:  JA Mentor
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I have been a property manager for 27 years and managed

Customer Question

I have been a property manager for 27 years and managed associations for large corporations. Two years ago (when I turned 60) I decided to quit my 8 year job and open a small management company. I have few clients because I do not want to have a huge amount of properties or have to hire many managers so I manage the most difficult properties.
Two years ago the Board of Directors of Winter Park Place Owners in Garland Texas called me explaining that since I left my job the new manager was not doing a good job so they had fired the management company and moved to a new one who found too challenging to manage the 48 unit property. This HOA has only 7 owners living at the property and the rest are renters. I would consider that 80% are from other countries and the rest are mixed within white and Afro-american owners and renters.
This HOA has always been in the red, prior me managing this HOA they were $20,000.00 in the red and by paying only $145.00 the HOA has never been able to build a reserve account, the property is 33 years old, it was self managed by a group of owners and no maintenance was done until a few years back so the property is constantly in need of expensive repairs.
One of goals have been that these condo HOA built as town homes that the HOA will NOT pay for homeowners responsibilities. It has been awful to fight owners that either have not read the property's governing documents or have their "own" interpretation.
One of the owners responsibilities are the water and sewer under each unit. Each unit has a meter and the City bills each owner individually. The HOA is not responsible for any of the bills. The City of Garland's water department has explained to me that the HOA is responsible for the sewer from the entrance to the property to the edge of each building. After the meters, the water and sewer lines subdivide in 4 since there are four units per building and that each owner is responsible for their own plumbing.
The problem is that there are constant sewer back ups, renters throw food, grease, lots of paper towels, chicken bones and other things to the sewer and they back the sewer at the exit from the building towards the wash outs. We recommend owners to call their own plumbers but some refuse, it is then when we need to call the HOA plumber to clear the line and we bill each owner for the total cost. Ninety nine percent pay for what they owe but there is one individual and his relatives that have refused to pay. Because I have to bill every month for the HOA fee and the plumbing, this individual calls my office, insults everyone while yelling and threats with lawsuits since a year ago.
I have more than 40 emails from him insulting me and threatening me. This has been going on for a year until last month he decided to slander me stating I am cheating, I am "cooking" the governing documents and has self proclaimed himself as the new Board President. Completely irregular and illegal since not even have insurance for his unit. He has been going around the property lying about our services and diminishing my persona as well as the Board's.
His comments are slanderous and I am sincerely ***** ***** this. I would like to know if it is possible for me to file a slander lawsuit against this man.
Thank you,
Lina Caggiano-Boer
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 5 months ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this is happening.

In a word: Yes. You can sue him. Slander is any untrue verbal statement of fact, made to a third party, that tends to harm the reptutation about whom the person is made. When a statement relates to a person's ability to do their job (such as saying they're cheating), you only need to prove that the statements were made. The judge will PRESUME your reputation was harmed by that. The same is true if he's telling people that you're lying about the services you provide or otherwise being dishonest about your business.

Also, if he's emailing you for no reason other than to threaten or scare you, that's intentional infliction of emotional distress. A person is now allowed to engage in a pattern of behavior that serves no legitimate purpose and is done only to upset someone else (upsetting someone else is never a legitimate purpose). These are both intentional torts, and both carry punitive damages.

If you wanted to file in Small Claims Court, you could seek up to $5,000 in damages. That's one way to go if you can't establish lost income due to his statements. You can subpoena people who have heard these statements to testify on your behalf. And you can introduce all the emails as evidence against him.

If you have any questions or concerns about my response, please reply WITHOUT RATING. It's important that you are 100% satisfied with my courtesy and professionalism. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so I am paid for the time I spend answering questions. If you are on a mobile device, you may need to scroll to the right. There is no charge for follow-up questions. Thank you.

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 5 months ago.

Do you have any other questions about this?