If your HOA has never had a neighbor dispute, congratulations and please share your secret, or plan on raising the price of the real estate because everyone wants to live there. Neighbor to neighbor disputes are inevitable, but getting ahead of them and coming to a quick resolution limits the negative effects. Plus it helps each homeowner involved in the dispute move on and build up the community instead of break it down.

Depending on the nature of the dispute, the Association’s Board and manager should determine whether or not it is the appropriate use of time and resources for the Association to step in and provide a resolution, which usually means issuing a letter or enforcing a fine. Sometimes a warning letter is an easy solution, although other times it can fuel the fire creating a much larger problem.

The ideal approach is to have the owners make every attempt to resolve the issue themselves. It may seem simple, but just like letting siblings work out their differences, if your homeowners understand it’s on them to work out the conflict instead of running to the Board or manager, it could make for quicker more peaceful compromises. However, Boards and managers shouldn’t totally ignore conflicts in hopes that owners will resolve them all.

“Keeping The Peace” is a 5-part series highlighting different ways your community can easily and effectively avoid or resolve conflict within your association. Check back frequently for parts 2 – 5 which include helpful tips and methods.