Homeowners associations are made up of a lot of different personalities, so it should come as no surprise that not everyone will get along all the time. Neighbors aren’t always the best of friends, but that doesn’t mean they can’t live next door to one another in peace. When issues arise, it’s ideal for neighbors to resolve them amongst themselves when possible, and the HOA can help facilitate this as necessary.
If homeowners complain to the HOA, here are a few steps to consider:
- Document the complaint.
Even if the HOA ultimately does not end up intervening, it is a good idea to keep a record of any complaints that are filed. Let homeowners know that they are heard and their concerns are being taken seriously. Even if it doesn’t seem like a big deal to the board, it is important enough to the homeowner that they felt the need to speak up, so be respectful.
- Encourage homeowners to talk it out.
Getting the HOA involved can escalate minor issues into something more complicated (and expensive). Encourage neighbors to discuss their concerns with one another in a polite, non-threatening manner. It may be that the individual did not even realize what they were doing or that their neighbor had an issue with it. Oftentimes minor disputes can be quickly resolved and a mutually agreeable solution put in place without involving the HOA at all.
- Review the rules.
Sometimes the issue being complained about is a clear violation of HOA rules, and the board is obligated to step in. Each matter should be properly investigated. The board may need to send a warning letter informing the homeowner of the violation. Once again, they may not have realized it was a problem, so a warning letter could suffice in remedying the issue. If not, further action may need to be taken to ensure compliance with the rules.
- Offer mediation.
If problems escalate, the HOA may recommend mediation services from a neutral party. They can often refer homeowners to various free or low-cost resources. This can help keep things from progressing into more expensive legal proceedings that could leave both parties unhappy. Once again, encourage neighbors to find ways to respectfully work through their differences.
To protect the best interest of the association, the board should avoid taking sides and rather ensure that HOA rules and regulations are being fairly and consistently enforced at all times, not just when issues arise. This can help curb problems before they begin. Also, give homeowners opportunities to get to know one another and build positive relationships. When there is a sense of friendliness and community, it can be easier to peaceably resolve problems and come to agreements that both parties can live with.
Maintain clear communication and consistent rules enforcement by partnering with a property management company like Kuester. Contact us today to learn more about how we can work with the board to support HOA operations and create a positive living environment.