While we work hard to create strong sense of community within our homeowners’ associations (HOAs), sooner or later even the most transparent of associations is bound to receive a complaint. While complaints in and of themselves are not bad (in fact, they can be quite good for improving the association as a whole), it is when those complaints escalate that you may run into bigger and more expensive problems. Ultimately, you may even find yourself in a position where litigation becomes necessary.
To reduce your risk for litigation, which is expensive, time-consuming, and distracts you from other pressing HOA needs, there are some simple steps you can take preventatively to resolve conflicts at the association level. We’ll walk through two such steps – the first of which we’ll discuss in this post. Stay tuned to the blog for part 2.
Tip #1: Create a culture of fairness
As we learned even as young kids, we should treat others as we’d like to be treated. If your HOA members perceive that they are being treated unfairly or that there are processes in place that benefit certain members more than others, this perception can lead to conflict.
Creating a culture that is just and fair to all members starts by ensuring that everyone’s voices can be heard. If your members feel that they are truly being listened to and their opinions are being taken seriously, they are more willing to accept a decision than if the approach is top-down and authoritarian.
Encourage your HOA members to attend meetings and provide a clear channel for them to voice concerns or frustrations. As you listen, seek to understand their point of view and do what you reasonably can to project fairness when offering solutions.
While conflict can be tricky to navigate, at the most basic level, your members just want to be heard and understood. Investing time and effort into creating a culture of fairness and respect will not only strengthen your HOA, it will also reduce your risk of litigation.
Stay tuned for our next post to learn our second tip for avoiding litigation.