Neighbor relations are a significant part of what makes home ownership enjoyable… or not. Some people have a good rapport with their neighbors, while others may not even be familiar with who their neighbors are. However, due to the pandemic, people are paying attention to their neighbors and community now more than ever, for better or worse.
Due to the pandemic, people are spending an unprecedented amount of time at home these days. With many people spending more daylight hours at home than ever before, it can have a positive impact by getting to see neighbors more often as well as increasing the opportunity for connecting and socializing with those closer to home. On the flip side, spending more time at home and around the community can sometimes lead to a greater awareness of the not-so-pleasant activities that can go on within our neighborhoods.
Perhaps, it’s the barking dog next door interrupting your Zoom meeting, or the fact that neighbors are now able to focus on making architectural updates to their home contributing to increased noise and visual chaos nearby. These nuisances can begin to create an uptick in neighbor-to-neighbor conflict.
Fortunately, when a conflict with a neighbor arises, your HOA management team can help. Here’s how:
Assess Conflict Management
First, your HOA management team can help you assess whether or not the conflict falls under the governance of the community association and where to go to get help. For example, a neighbor-to-neighbor dispute may be over a backyard fence issue that’s homeowner-controlled and therefore, it would be up to the two parties to handle on their own. Or there could be a noise issue, in which case the homeowners association management could provide directions on where to get help and resources to resolve the issue. Depending on what the rules of the property entail, it could be as simple as reviewing the governing documents to settle the dispute.
Communicate the Process
After determining if a neighbor conflict requires third-party support, it’s important for both neighbors to understand the process for remediating the concern. At Keystone, we let the involved parties know the steps they can take to work through an issue. We can walk homeowners through the specifics of the violation, the importance of the regulations, and how it may be affecting their property value.
If it’s an association matter, we can help facilitate the board’s enforcement of the rules per the governing documents and make sure the solution is implemented. Essentially, a HOA management team is not in place to determine violations but rather to make sure the rules and regulations set forth by the community’s governing documents and board directives are followed so that the community looks great, supports property values, and helps homeowners work toward a resolution with their neighbors.
Third, education is an important part of conflict resolution. Keystone provides a variety of methods for HOAs to communicate with their members through newsletters, community websites, and mailers so all residents are in the know on community happenings. This helps guide goal setting for the HOA board and align everyone on what’s best for the community. Regular communication is key to letting everyone know what’s going on in the association, where they can go for help, and what resources are available when dealing with neighbor-to-neighbor disputes.
Although, it should be noted, a violation is between the homeowner not in accordance with the CC&Rs and the association’s board. Though the neighbor reporting it may want to know status, the information is kept confidential between the board and the member in question. However, a HOA management group can let the neighbor know the overall process and the general timeline of when the matter will be resolved.
It’s an opportunity to provide additional education on the violation review process, which typically includes a courtesy letter, follow up, hearing before the board, and then, the board decides how to resolve it. Knowing the HOA board is performing their due diligence can offer peace of mind and assurance that the matter is being taken care of in a timely fashion which can often help diffuse a situation.
Furthermore, homeowners can use the kppmconnection.com member portal to receive updates and communication with regards to violation notices, where applicable, and reach out to their HOA management team with any specific questions or need for clarification.
Though we’d all like to avoid it as much as possible, conflict happens, even among our neighbors. It’s nice to know there are tools and resources available to work through it and arrive at a solution designed to protect property values and community connections.
Interested in learning more about how Keystone can improve HOA management, including neighbor-to-neighbor conflict resolution, for your community? Contact us to start a conversation.