How can proactive communication reduce HOA disputes?

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2022 | Real Estate Disputes

Poor communication often fuels litigation. HOA board members cannot force tenants to communicate, but they can encourage communication. One step is to initiate communication.

Communication is, of course, a two-way street and requires participation from both parties. Yet by reaching out, the board will increase the chance tenants discuss issues before they snowball into a bigger problem. If residents feel the board is unapproachable or does not care, they may keep problems to themselves or gossip about them with other tenants, leading to a culture within the community of resentment and increasing the chance of litigation.

The board can mitigate this risk by proactively communicating about the following issues:

#1: Changes to existing rules or introduction of new ones.

People can only stick to rules they know about. Change is hard, but residents are more likely to abide by new rules if they understand their logic. Be prepared to dedicate time to explain why the board thought it necessary to implement these changes.

#2: Use of funds.

Tenants may complain about use of funds. Perhaps they believe the board should cover the cost of something or are concerned that they should not pay for something else. Unfortunately, the bigger issue is that many residents may not have even a basic understanding of how the board uses funds. Financial transparency won’t avoid all complaints, but it can reduce them.

#3: How the board addresses violations.

Some people break the rules because they do not care. Others are not aware they are doing anything wrong. It is better to mention minor issues early to try and nip things in the bud rather than leaving it until things have reached a breaking point.

Sometimes the only form of communication a person understands is one written on a law firm’s letterhead. Getting legal help to defend your position may deescalate the situation before it reaches litigation.