Conflict is a common element in regular HOA business operations, regardless of how well an association is managed. An HOA is ultimately a business, one that is tasked with keeping its residents’ homes safe and beautiful – something that both residents and board members are very passionate about. HOA managers have to make decisions with the well-being of the majority of the community in mind, but not every resident agrees with those decisions.
When discussing their viewpoints, both residents and board members can become heated and conflicted. However, conflict doesn’t always have to be negative, and can actually be a healthy aspect of community management when handled correctly. Implementing successful conflict resolution techniques can help board members and community members make better overall decisions for the community. Here are 4 steps for effective HOA conflict resolution.
Step 1. Communicate clearly.
A lot of resident pushback can be preempted with clear communication. Before making any decisions, HOA board members should use as many resources as possible to communicate any issues with residents. This gives the residents more opportunity to stay informed and, if needed, contact the board members with questions or concerns before the next community meeting can escalate to an argument.
Step 2: Practice transparency in all areas.
An HOA board is expected to remain transparent with their financial decisions, and it’s just as important to be transparent with any decisions that impact the community. Once the board has communicated issues or ideas with the residents, board members should make themselves available to answer calls, emails and questions in a timely manner. This allows community members to feel like they are involved in the decision-making process, lessening the chance of resident pushback.
Step 3: Remove the person from the problem.
In the heat of the moment, both board members and residents may feel like they are being personally attacked, when that’s typically not the case at all. Conflict in an HOA decision is the result of differing opinions, and not usually the result of a personal grudge. Board members should remember this and keep an open mind when listening to dissent from residents. Rather than treating residents as an adversaries during a conflict, board members should regard them as a part of their team and consider their different points of view as part of the decision-making process.
Step 4: If all else fails, bring in a mediator.
Board members and residents both have the same goal – a safe, successful and beautiful community. Even with this common ground, not all conflict can be avoided or easily resolved. In some cases, a third-party mediator can be brought in to help settle a particularly difficult conflict, so everyone can get back to enjoying the community they love so much.
About Scott Litman Insurance Agency
At Scott Litman Insurance Agency, we are dedicated to protecting HOA’s like yours. We have a unique understanding of the industry and the common risk exposures that you face in your daily operations. In fact, we find that 90% of the policies we review are missing coverages that violate the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&R), exposing the board, HOA and management to lawsuits– which is why our comprehensive policies are tailored to meet your specific needs at competitive prices. For more information about our products, contact our experts today at (818) 879-5980 ext. 201, or fill out our online form.