If you sit on the board of an HOA or condo association, one of your most challenging responsibilities is handling homeowner and condo owner complaints. Here are some of the common issues that members bring up and how to reduce them in the future.

1. Minimize HOA and Condo Owner Complaints Against Neighbors

Nuisance complaints are very common when people live in close proximity to each other. Examples include:

  • Noise coming through the walls or floors
  • Poorly behaved children (or adults)
  • Dogs or other pets on the loose or not cleaned up after
  • Cigarette or cigar smoke on patios and balconies that invades neighboring units
  • Running a business out of a home

First, you can minimize nuisance complaints by addressing them as soon as they come up. Letting a problem fester will only make things worse. If a nuisance is outside the responsibility or capability of the board to address, that doesn’t mean you should simply wash your hands of the matter. Having a good neighbor-to-neighbor resolution process in place is a powerful way to help members sort things out between themselves. Also, when people know their issues will be heard and taken seriously, they tend to offer feedback rather than complaints.

2. Minimize HOA and Condo Owner Complaints about the Rules

No one likes to be told they can’t make changes to their property. From erecting a metal storage shed to putting up decorations that fall outside community guidelines, members may be incensed that they can’t do what they like. But the fact remains that people form an HOA or a condo association so that the entire community can be held accountable for following certain rules.

One of the most common reasons people complain is because they don’t realize there is a rule until they’ve broken it. Education is critical for helping new and existing members stay abreast of the guidelines. Not everyone is going to proactively get a copy of the CC&R and read every word.

One way you can help overcome this lack of knowledge is by communicating and reinforcing guidelines throughout the year. For example, if the holidays are coming up, it’s a good time to distribute a newsletter with a refresher about guidelines for tasteful and timely decorations.

3. Minimize Complaints against the Condo Association or HOA Board

The board members of a property owners may come under fire for a number of reasons:

  • Promoting their own agenda over the good of the community
  • Not listening to feedback or taking complaints seriously
  • Enforcing rules inconsistently or unfairly
  • Making up rules and raising the price of dues with no good reason

These accusations and complaints may be accurate or unfounded. If the problem is more perception than reality, then greater transparency and better communication may resolve the issue. When you don’t consistently enforce rules, you know it is time to standardize the enforcement process and eliminate favoritism. If there are people on the board who have self-serving or power-hungry intentions, it’s time to elect replacements. Electing board representatives with both the desire and skill to serve effectively is the best way to reduce complaints about the board.

4. Minimize Complaints about Vendors/Contractors

Perhaps a work crew makes too much mess. Or, a pest control company can’t effectively deal with a termite problem. Maybe the pool has been shut down for weeks because the maintenance company hasn’t been around. Community members have every right to complain if their dues are paying for poor service. The best way to keep complaints to a minimum is by choosing experienced, high-quality vendors. Your property owners’ association guidelines should include processes to qualify vendors based on more than price. Due diligence in vendors selection should include gathering information about their local reputation, references, BBB rating, online reviews, and more.

If there are issues with a vendor and one member complains, chances are good that many others are also frustrated. Address vendor problems promptly—and make sure to communicate with the community about what action was taken and the timeline for resolution. It might be time to explore early termination in accordance with the terms and conditions of a vendor’s contract, if you have too many complaints.

Want to minimize HOA or condo owner complaints? Let Ardent Residential help. Contact our team to learn more about our services.