Some HOA board members really enjoy being a person who gets to hear all about the complaints that homeowners in the HOA have about each other, the board, the management company, and anything else for that matter. But most HOA board members, while they enjoy serving, get a headache when that one resident constantly complains about ridiculous and perhaps even irrational topics. Whether the complaints come from too much on time on a homeowner’s hands, a grudge, or even weakened mental faculties, as an HOA board member, they are most likely going to find their way to you. Here are a few tips to help out.
Establish a Complaint Procedure
By formally adopting a procedure by which the HOA receives complaints, you can equip your HOA to address actual legitimate complaints while cutting down on the meritless and/or over-the-top complaints. For example, create a complaint form which asks a series of questions to suss out the details of an alleged problem. A person who does not have a legitimate complaint but simply wants to create a scene may feel less inclined to do so if it means writing out a bunch of details that may or may not actually exist.
Encourage Parties to Work Things Out Amongst Themselves
This tip may sound laughable, but, all too often, fellow homeowners engage in disputes over noise, barking dogs, home decor, and so on simply because they do not know each other. What may seem like a nuisance from a stranger neighbor can morph into a tolerable quirk of the community once homeowners get to know each other. Maybe that is taking it a bit far, but friendly dialogue can often lead to solutions whereas formal bickering in front of the board can just create more entrenched conflict. Find ways to encourage dialogue; perhaps an HOA-sponsored happy hour once a month can lead to fewer complaints.
Outsource Your Complaint Handling
Many HOAs work around the problem of complaint snowballing by essentially outsourcing their complaint handling procedure to a non-HOA member. For example, formally deputizing a management company or manager to hear complaints and address them can help. When complaints become serious and interminable, an outside HOA attorney can speak to the complainant in question to explain the law, the internal procedures, and what their options are.
Contact an HOA Lawyer for Further Help
At Goodman Holmgren, our sole focus is on meeting the legal needs of HOAs, including creating and implementing HOA policy and responding to homeowner concerns. Contact us today to discuss any legal challenge your HOA is facing.