Homeowners Associations (HOAs) are established to help oversee the management of your neighborhood. A good HOA understands its role as a guardian, making sure the community looks nice and the rules are followed, but without being invasive. Sometimes, however, HOA laws are ignored, which can lead to conflict between homeowners or with the board. Managing that conflict requires a respectful diplomacy.

Here are 5 tips to help HOAs smooth out any ruffled feathers:

  1. Communicate — Hoping situations will resolve themselves without communication is foolhardy. Regardless of the conflict, its important the HOA maintain open lines of communication to assist with resolution. Transparency ensures everyone has an understanding of the big picture.
  2. Stay Fair and Impartial — An HOA cant be perceived as taking sides. Its role is to enforce laws and guarantee theyre adhered to throughout the community. An HOA member may personally have no problem with an above-ground pool in a backyard, but if the neighborhood guidelines prohibit it, the rules must be followed.
  3. Appeal to Shared Values — Most homeowners take pride in their residence — but some may have a different sense of what constitutes beauty. An HOA can help to mitigate tension by stressing the ways homeowners can find common ground in disputes and solve problems, rather than letting disagreements escalate.
  4. Threats of Litigation — The majority of homeowners would prefer not to bring attorneys into the mix. They already pay their annual dues, so additional legal fees would be unpalatable. An HOA can remind homeowners that litigation is a possibility when severe conflicts arise, and that benefits no one (except the lawyers).
  5. Invite Input — Homeowners may cause a ruckus when they feel they dont have a say in the direction of the community. An HOA can soothe the hurt feelings of the seemingly aggrieved by welcoming their thoughts and concerns. Homeowners are more likely to rationally discuss problems when they have a voice in neighborhood.

Are you a member of an HOA? How have you handled conflict in the past?

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