IKO Community Management is helping board members better navigate these neighbor disputes. Here are a few tips for dealing with HOA resident complaints.
Make the HOA laws and guidelines accessible to every resident. At any time, a resident should be able to view HOA laws online or at the community center. Offer a downloadable version online and in community newsletters. By making these HOA laws accessible, residents have a quick reference should disputes arise.
Choose an HOA board member to handle resident complaints. It's recommended that the most objective board member be the point of contact for resident complaints. Having a singular point of contact filters out and prioritizes complaints by their subsequent resolutions or level of importance.
Understand how to solve resident complaints. Some complaints are minor. For example, a neighbor notices that dog walkers don't pick up after their pets or a car is always parked in their spot. This quick-solve complaints require a conversation and minor action. Other complaints require bigger, more permanent actions.
For example, a neighbor rents out their home or turns it into a home-based business. These circumstances may require amendments to your HOA laws. That's why it's important to understand the solution and severity of each complaint.
Have a consistent workflow. It's important to discuss how your community manages resident complaints. If board members aren't on the same page, one resident could claim favoritism or priority over another.
A great recommendation is to set up an automated response from the designated point of contact as the first interaction. An email that ensures the resident their complaint was received is a good first step. After that, develop or follow the protocol that best fits the way your community works.
Stand your ground. As an HOA board member, it's your responsibility to prioritize community harmony and betterment. If a resident's complaint is out of line or they don't accept a reasonable solution, explain why. Involve other board members to help you out. The entire board should be aware of the complaint and a group solution.
If you feel that the interaction with an upset resident is too tense, meet in a common area with another board member. Use your team as support, and don't forget your responsibility to the community as a whole.
Handling and solving resident complaints are a necessary part of being an HOA board member. It's best to formalize the procedure according to your community's best interests and HOA laws.