When it comes to keeping the peace in your HOA community, IKO Community Management offers a few tried-and-true tactics for long-term community harmony and happiness.
Communicate. Communication is the key to a happy relationship, and the best way to keep the peace is through effective board member and resident communication.
Aside from scheduled meetings that play by the CC&Rs, a great way to start communicating better is with a community newsletter. Send an email every month that details a community calendar, updates to the neighborhood, upcoming holidays, and new neighbors. This keeps everyone on the same page.
- Inclement weather, including snow removal, heat index warnings, community pool closings, and hazardous travel conditions
- Missing pets or reminders to adhere to pet policy (picking up after dogs and leash rules)
- Meeting notifications, including secretary’s agendas, meeting minutes, topics of discussion, open positions (school crossing guard, subcommittee volunteers, or lifeguards)
- Holiday memos, including trick-or-treat hours, holiday decorating rules, and a warning about package thieves
- Towing warnings
- Architectural modifications, including sidewalk or parking lot repair, additional playground equipment, or new mulching in tot lots
- Community amenity updates, including carpet cleaning in the fitness center or annual community pool cleaning
- Community events, including pumpkin-carving competitions, tree decorating contests, visits from Santa, cookie or ornament exchanges, local fire or police department visits, seminars on home utility rebates or car safety for children, Zumba or yoga classes, and crafting opportunities
Deal with neighbor disputes appropriately. Neighbor disputes are an expected part of living in a homeowner association-regulated community. However, how you deal with these circumstances is the most accurate depiction of how peaceful your neighborhood is.
To start, suggest that the neighbors talk to one another. Sometimes people aren’t aware that they’re doing something bothersome, and a good first step is to schedule a face-to-face meeting to air all concerns. Use the following few tips to talk it out:
- Assume the other person is unaware of the problem, or be open and pleasant when discussing it.
- Use problem-solving phrases, such as "How do you suggest we approach this?" or "I think I have a solution.”
- Don’t leave the door open. Try to solve the dispute as quickly and calmly as possible, so no one can overthink the situation.
- Avoid discussing this with other homeowners unless you strongly believe that they have an issue, too.
If talking it out doesn’t keep the peace in your HOA, visit 6 Easy Steps To Solving Neighbor Disputes Without Your HOA.
Balance resident and community rights. "Often there is the perception of the heavy-handed association versus the poor homeowner," Frank Rathbun, a Community Associations Institute staffer, said to The Washington Post.
While 90 percent of homeowners say that they’re on good terms with HOA board members, according to Landlord Station’s 2013 infographic, this perception that Rathbun references occurs in many HOA communities. In order to keep the peace and eliminate this stereotype, it’s important to balance resident and community rights.
Let residents have a say in community matters while remaining strict and fair with community bylaws and CC&Rs. Understand the residents’ point of view before making big neighborhood decisions. It’s all about striking a balance between the two parties to keep the peace in your HOA.
To learn more about how to keep the peace, click on the button below to download IKO Community Management’s Guide To Conflict Resolution And Community Harmony:
Topics: HOA Board