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Attyadvisor, Attorney
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 5547
Experience:  28 years of experience in general practice, real estate law and estate law.
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Second opinion] - I have been a property manager for 27

Customer Question

Second opinion] - 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: 23 days ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 23 days ago.

Welcome and thank you for your question. I will be the professional that will be assisting you.

Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 23 days ago.

This is as clear case of defamation.

"Defamation of character is the maligning of one’s character. Texas law breaks defamation of character into two separate causes of action depending on the form of the offensive conduct. Written defamation of character constitutes the tort of libel. Oral defamation of character constitutes the tort of slander.

The elements of both libel and slander are the same. The plaintiff in a libel and/or slander case must prove that the Defendant (1)knowingly or negligently, (2) made false, (3)defamatory statements, (4) which caused damages to the plaintiff. For a more detailed analysis see Brown v. Swett & Crawford of Texas, Inc., 178 S.W.3d 373(Tex. App. – Houston(1st Dist.) 2005, no pet.). It is not necessary that the Plaintiff prove that the Defendant had actual knowledge of the falsity of the statement as long as there is proof that the statement was made negligently. If there is evidence that the statements were made with actual knowledge of their falsity then the Plaintiff may also have a cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Practitioners should pay special attention to the statute of limitation is libel and slander cases. While most tort claims in Texas have a two year statute of limitations, the Texas Practices and Remedies Code Section 16.002(a) provides a one year statute of limitations for libel and slander claims.

You can always file in small claims, however, depending on the financial harm he caused this may be more then a small claims matter.

"A Small Claims Case is a lawsuit brought for the recovery of money damages, personal property, or other relief allowed by law. The claim can be for no more than $10,000, including attorney fees, if any, and excluding statutory interest and court costs."

Have you considered filing a lawsuit against him to have the court order him to close stop?

Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 23 days ago.

This is a link for Attorneys in the area that provide FREE consultations

Please do not hesitate to ask me any additional questions that you may have with regard to this matter as it would be my pleasure to assist you.

If you would be kind enough to rate my service positively so I will receive credit for my work I would appreciate it.


Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 22 days ago.

Dear Customer:

You may not be aware that the Attorneys on Just Answer do not receive credit for their time or work if the customer does not provide us with a positive rating. There is no additional charge to you to provide a positive and you are always entitled to a refund. I was happy to provide to a 2nd opinion. Hopefully, you will take the extra time to provide a rating.

Thank you for using JA!