Q&A: Complaining and Confidentiality

Q. I have a question concerning the confidentiality of a person in a condo or HOA filing a complaint. Number one, are all complaints confidential?  Or when a management agent of a condominium receives a complaint from a homeowner about another homeowner, is he allowed to tell the homeowner the name of the complainant?  Is this ethical for him or her to do so and is there a  real estate rule about how community association managers and  managing agents are supposed to respond to this situation? Is there a specific standard procedure?

                          —Mum is the Word

A. “The answer to your question is no. The manager is not prohibited by any rules from revealing the person filing the complaint,” says  attorney Marshall N. Dickler, a senior member and principal of the Arlington Heights-based law firm of Dickler, Kahn, Slowikowski & Zavell, Ltd., “by usually does not and maintains confidentiality to prevent harassment, threats, or other problems. The board does not have to reveal the information even at a hearing on the complaint.”

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