In an ideal world, neighbors would all get along and live peaceably beside one another. In reality, disagreements do arise, whether they’re over noise, lawn care, kids, or practically anything else. While neighbors may bring these complaints to the attention of the HOA, it is not always the board’s place – or in their best interest – to step in. In a new statement to the press, Kuester Management Group sheds light on some common dispute issues and how the HOA can more effectively handle them.
“While the HOA does govern over the community as a whole, it is not the board’s job to resolve every dispute,” says Bryan Kuester, President of Kuester Management Group. “There are some issues which are better left to the homeowners to come to a mutual agreement. For instance, if their arguments don’t have anything to do with the HOA or its policies and they’re strictly personal, they should be kept off the board docket.”
When issues do arise, Kuester encourages the board to listen before reacting. Even if it sounds silly or petty, it was enough to get someone upset and create a larger issue. Hear out what homeowners have to say and what the basis of their grievance is. Then, decide if it is something that requires intervention from the HOA. Does it involve a specific policy or rule that is being violated?
If not, Kuester recommends talking to homeowners about working it out between themselves. With a little time and patience, homeowners can often come to a mutually agreeable decision that requires no input from the board. They may both have to make some compromises, but it can lead to a resolution that prevents further issues.
If an HOA policy is being violated, the board is typically obligated to uphold its guidelines. This doesn’t necessarily mean taking sides, but rather stating what the governing documents say and how they’re enforced within the community. It’s a good idea to remain neutral and factual; everyone is expected to follow the same rules.
“When disagreements do arise, or there have been issues in the past, it can be a good idea to send some friendly reminders about HOA guidelines,” says Kuester. “For example, as it’s getting warmer and people are starting to leave their windows open, remind them about noise guidelines and tips for staying in compliance. The same goes for when the pool opens up or around holidays when people hold parties. You’re not trying to keep them from enjoying themselves, just reminding them of the rules so that everyone has a good time.”
In instances where there are concerns about safety or health, it may be necessary to get the police, fire department, animal control, or other organizations involved. The HOA wants to ensure that homeowners are protected and any real threats are minimized. For the most part, many neighbor disputes can either be resolved between the neighbors themselves, or with some assistance from the board. If more assistance is needed, the HOA can contact its property manager for guidance about how to handle certain situations, especially those involving potential policy violations.
Kuester Management Group, a division of Kuester Companies, works to protect property values and enhance the quality of life in each of its managed communities. Providing a full range of association management services, Kuester Management Group has worked to foster strong, resilient, and unified communities across North and South Carolina. The company is proud to offer on-site property managers, all zealous for building strong communities meant to stand the test of time. More information is available at www.kuester.com or @KuesterCompany.