Homeowners associations generally have a set of rules that members of the HOA generally need to follow. However, there can be rare instances of disobedience or failure to abide by these rules. This often results in penalties and, in extreme cases, expulsion from the HOA community. Generally, the HOA has the legal right to make such a decision. Homeowners can also be evicted from the association if it is proved in a court of law that his/her actions are jeopardizing the safety of the other members or even a neighbor. It is quite common for neighbors to have disagreements amongst themselves in a community, and this is when the HOA management needs to step in to resolve their problems.
HOA property management and the steps they take to prevent disputes from escalating further
In the event of disputes between neighbors, the HOA management need to pay heed to the following steps-
- Written complaint- When it comes to disputes, the HOA cannot intervene in them instantly. The HOA property management must be executed professionally. Here, the HOA must receive a formal written complaint addressed to them by one of the neighbors. In case the complaint is made verbally, the HOA management community will request the complaint to send the request in writing so that there is a record of it with them. This is needed for legal and other reasons. However, when it comes to personal matters like relationships and dating, the HOA members will not intervene. The same also holds true for family matters. They will only intervene in the matter when one of the parties or the other members of the association is in danger or are at risk.
- Investigation- One member of the HOA Board will be assigned to investigate the dispute between neighbors. Generally, it is the manager of the HOA that carries out this investigation; however, if the HOA does not have a manager, it is one of the Board members that undertake the onus of the investigation. During this investigation process, the Board member or the manager needs to be extremely careful. They should make extensive inquiries and never overlook vital details. They should interview the parties to the dispute concerned to hear their versions and what led to the dispute at the start. There is a high probability that it will end up in court as a lawsuit.
- Intervention- Based on the total information and evidence collected from the whole investigation, the HOA management will decide whether it is a matter worth intervening with. This decision should be taken by all of the board members of the HOA. It is prudent for them to have a lawyer present at the time of making a choice so that they can get legal insights and advice on the matter.
In this manner, the HOA property management company can manage disputes between neighbors and prevent the dispute from escalating further. They do not get involved with domestic or family disputes but rather with issues that threaten the integrity and safety of the other members of the HOA due to the reckless or irresponsible action of another party.