Residing in a community that’s managed by an HOA can have many advantages. Properties are typically well-maintained, safety is a top priority and there is usually access to several attractive amenities. That being said, however, there are some downsides to HOAs. In particular, conflict can sometimes arise. Let’s explore some of the most common HOA disputes and how to best resolve them.
At the root of almost every conflict is poor or lack of communication between the parties. In a perfect world, HOA board members would play an active and ever-present role in the day-to-day happenings within the community. In reality, however, these individuals rarely have adequate time to do so. This can lead to a breakdown in communication and subsequent frustration amongst homeowners.
Failure to perform timely, routine maintenance on various aspects of a property can lead to other, more serious and much costlier problems down the road. For instance, failing to correct a leak could eventually lead to issues like mold and property damage. Keeping up with maintenance, both preventative as well as acute, can be challenging for HOA board members, but it’s an absolute necessity to avoid potential conflict.
Unclear Rules and Expectations
In order for a housing community to operate in peace and harmony, all residents must abide by the rules and regulations set forth by the HOA. Problems arise, however, when these rules are not clearly communicated and regularly enforced. As an example, if a homeowner is unaware of what aspects of property management he or she is responsible for vs. what is to be handled by the HOA, confusion can lead to unnecessary grievances.
Lack of Consistency
Barring a formal system, it’s easy for HOA board members to play favorites, so to speak. Whether real or perceived, it’s not uncommon for one resident to feel as though another is receiving preferential treatment. Bias is human nature, but it has no place in a professional body such as a home owners association. To avoid potential unrest within the community, rules and regulations must be enforced consistently and equitably across the board.
When an HOA member is found to be in violation of the community’s rules, a fine may be assessed. Sometimes these events occur due to a resident’s defiance, but in most instances, they arise out of a simple lack of knowledge and clarity. Again, clear and consistent communication of the rules, regulations and resident expectations can reduce the number of fines issued and ensure that the ones that are assessed are, indeed, warranted.
When it comes to HOA disputes, the best defense is a good offense. The solution to all of the problems above is simple: advanced HOA management software. With the right software in place, communication become centralized, maintenance requests can be managed seamlessly, and rules and regulations can be easily and instantly communicated and verified. The result is maximum transparency, happier residents and a more successful association.