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Condo | HOA Lawyers

Protecting Your Community Association from Incivility By Jillian M. Henzler, Esq.

Jillian Henzler

Serving on an association’s board can be an extremely important task, but can sometimes become challenging if faced with uncivil owners.  Thankfully, there are a few things the board can do to maintain order within the community.

Increased communication and education.  We find that the root of a number of owner complaints relate back to owners feeling as though they are uninformed.  Regular communications to the owners about new developments from the board through a newsletter or mailing will make owners feel more informed and included in the board’s decisions, and may ultimately decrease the number of questions or complaints received. 

Adopt rules regarding meeting conduct, and participation.  If an association has a history of unruly annual or owner meetings, the association can adopt specific rules about the conduct of meeting.  This will put all owners on notice of what is expected at meetings, and give the board the basis to take enforcement action.

Protect your association’s online presence.  One of the quickest ways that an unhappy owner can spread complaints about the association or board is through an online post.  To prevent the dissemination of false information, the board can trademark the association’s name or logo.  If an owner falsely represents the position or action of the board through an internet page, the board can inform the website provider of the violation of trademark, and have the page removed.

Regulate the association’s contractual relationships.  Nearly every association enters into contractual relationships with outside vendors to perform work, such as landscaping or snow removal, on the association’s property.  It is essential that the vendor or contractor know exactly who they should be communicating with.  The board should specify that the contracted party, including any teams working on site, should only take direction from the community association manager or board members, and not an unruly owner that may try to interfere with the job. 

Limiting the scope of document requests.  If an owner disagrees with a board decision, they may make a request for documents, which could become cumbersome with the amount of records the board is required to retain.  Keeping the records electronically will allow the board to easily locate and isolate the specific information that is being requested. 

These easy tips can be used as a precaution to prevent unwelcome behavior, and assist in keeping the peace within your community.

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