How HOA Members Can Be Good Neighbors

September 5, 2018 by

How_HOA_members_can_be_good_neighborsPhoto: Robin Plaskoff Horton.

HOAs (Home Owners Associations) exist to promote cooperation, safe neighborhoods and a stable environment for those who live within their boundaries. Rules and regulations are often necessary to ensure that neighbors treat one another with respect – especially in denser neighborhoods where people are in close contact with one another.

How_HOA_members_can_be_good_neighborsPhoto: Robin Plaskoff Horton.

Anybody who has been a member of or who has sat on the board of an HOA knows that conflicts can easily arise – often around the interpretation of rules and specific desires by various residents. It is the job of the HOA to ensure that the neighborhood is a vibrant, fun and enjoyable place to live for all. That sometimes requires a bit of compassion, proactivity, and foresight.

To help keep the peace and ensure a friendly atmosphere, boards should strive to accomplish the following in their communities:

How_HOA_members_can_be_good_neighborsPhoto: Flickr Creative Commons.

1. Encourage and Facilitate Community Events
The more people interact in casual and friendly settings, the less likely they are to develop a distrust for one another. One of the most effective ways to prevent neighborly disputes is to ensure that regular community events are on the calendar.

How_HOA_members_can_be_good_neighborsPhoto: Flickr Creative Commons.

With a variety of potential events perfect for each season and time of year, there should never be any shortage of opportunities to bring the community together. Savvy HOA boards will also find ways to directly involve the community in the planning process. Encouraging neighbors to volunteer to bring various foods, decorating and setting up the event venue, offers them opportunities to work together and mitigate conflict.

How_HOA_members_can_be_good_neighbors_with_privacyPhoto: Flickr Creative Commons

2. Allow Privacy
In close-knit communities, tensions can arise when if residents feel like everybody is breathing down their necks, or that their privacy isn’t respected. HOAs can facilitate better relationships with regulations that ensure privacy and respect for property.

For example, allowing residents to build fences along their property boundaries can minimize territorial disputes and complaints about visual nuisances (see Northland Fence for examples of the types of fences that work perfectly within an HOA).


3. Provide Mediation
Whenever a potential conflict does arise, the HOA should do everything in its power to be present throughout the process and help resolve the situation. All too often, HOA residents develop a disdain for their associations due to a perceived bias or preference among board members. These perceptions can wreak havoc on the respect and cooperation within the neighborhood.

By providing mediation and a fair assessment of the complaints on both sides of the argument, HOA members will be more likely to trust their organizations when future matters arise. In lieu of  board rulings, the HOA should attempt to do everything in its power to encourage the parties to come to an amenable agreement.

How_HOA_members_can_be_good_neighbors_with_mediationPhoto: Robin Plaskoff Horton

4. Minimize Bureaucracy
One of the biggest drawbacks to HOAs, say many prospective home buyers, is the feeling that their lives will be micro managed by an entity. Relatively few people want to feel bossed around on property they’ve purchased. All too often, when disputes among neighbors arise, residents resort to bureaucratic rules and technicalities to squabble and wage war against one another.

HOAs can minimize this behavior and ensure neighbors get along more effectively by eliminating or avoiding rules and regulations that may likely create tension. While HOAs need some regulations to ensure the community is enjoyed by all, they shouldn’t become an excuse for neighbors to quarrel.

How_HOA_members_can_be_good_neighborsPhoto: Flickr Creative Commons

Keeping the peace can sometimes be a challenge, but board members and neighbors alike have a responsibility to work at it. HOAs can reduce tensions by allowing for more at-home privacy, minimizing minutiae on the books, providing arbitration, and encouraging the community to interact often.

This post was published in partnership with Boris Dzhingarov, author and founder of Hometipsor. He is a graduate of UNWE where he majored in marketing. You can connect with Boris on Twitter and Linkedin.


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