Roughly 8000 new homeowners associations are formed annually. Imagine most of them just trying their hand at bossing the whole neighborhood around and getting nothing done. Or worse still, on the flip side, being so polite and unable to exercise their authority that the residents get their way and boss them around, disrupting the whole community discipline and environment. That is definitely not how some of us would like to live in a community.
As an HOA manager, you walk a fine line between being the good or bad guy. You are required to enforce rules but not based on a disagreement. On the other hand, you have to remain professional but as friendly as you can be. As it is unanimously agreed that one really cannot make everyone happy, being in the HOA management can quickly become a constant swing of
making up with one resident and displeasing another.
The idea is to strike a balance that you enforce HOA rules without actually forcing them on to anyone. It is your job to call out when someone is getting away by not following the by-laws, but the best way is to do it diplomatically to not alienate anyone. It naturally comes easy if you are known in the neighborhood to have that disciplinary authority. For example, a retired military official is bound to keep everyone on edge.
However, the HOA management board is chosen by the residents of the community development, and neither a strict nor a very gullible person can get the job done. Hence, here are some ways one can strike a balance and actually be of some benefit to the community.
Rules Are the Same for Everyone
Understandably, people voted or voluntarily made a part of the HOA management have the understanding and discipline to follow the rule and guidelines already in place. They comply well with the regulations and are comfortable with those rules at some level, or else they would refuse to play a part for the homeowners association.
The problem generally arises when there are a few individuals who:
- Think rules don’t apply to them
- Simply just slack on the whole narrative
Good enough as is that many homeowners belong to the second category and just simply get complacent with the whole idea of HOA. All they mostly ever require is a little nudge of friendly reminder, and the job is done. As for the remainder, they require a bit more effort than a friendly reminder.
They need to understand that rules are the same for everyone and apply to them as long as they are residents of the said community development. Whether it takes an individual session, law involvement, or repeated warnings, the situation has to be handled for the better at all times.
Understanding but Firm
There can be many conditions applicable when someone breaks a rule, especially if it is unusual
of them to do so. Maybe they require more clarification on the rule, and a little discussion would do. Maybe they were out of town and clearly missed the invite or weren’t home to take the decorations down.
However, it takes a bit of finesse on your part as an HOA manager that you understand their situation but remain firm with the measures being taken to get the job done. No matter how friendly the warning is, be sure to establish your authoritative call specifically in every scenario.
You definitely don’t want someone getting a chance to complain that you treated them differently than their neighbors. As discussed earlier, rules are rules for everyone, whether they like it or not, and exercising that notion is vital for an HOA manager through how you put it across.
Professional, Not Personal
It is important to keep warnings and instructions clear, rational, and as per the book. A rule-focused communication always results better than anything that may flow out of context uncontrollably. It is better to stay professional as the main priority is to get the job done than to disregard rules as a personal insult to injury willfully.
You can allow grace periods or other considerations depending on the scope of the issue. However, it is best to put it across in a way that is black and white. Make it known to the other person that it is what you can do for now and won’t be exercised if the same situation happens again.
Although if someone has logical reasoning against a certain rule, you should suggest they note it down and bring it up in the next term’s meeting. But this is what they have to comply with for now. It is obvious that some residents will be more difficult than others, but an HOA manager or any HOA management authority for that matter shouldn’t forget their professionalism and keep things calm and under wraps at all costs.
To summarize, homeowner’s association managers are a representation of the whole neighborhood. It is just as important for them to think of the community’s reputation as it is to think of their own. HOA managers cannot be irresponsible towards their duties or bend the rule for personal gains.
We hope you find these tips helpful in communicating and putting HOA terms across to your fellow residents and homeowners. You can always take assistance from a professional community association management company like PMG Services.
We are a reliable resource for neighborhoods of single-family homes and condominiums in Arizona. We are committed and invested in strengthening your communities from the inside out. Give us a call today for further information.