Common issues include security and maintenance, among other grievances. Here’s how to handle some typical objections and keep the community happy
Studies show that 85% of Americans who live in managed communities are happy with their HOA, proving that community associations are popular and preferred by homeowners. It’s easy to see why – HOAs work to serve their residents, provide value, and support the common interests of their neighborhoods.
Though overall levels of HOA satisfaction remain high, it’s not uncommon for association managers to run into hiccups. There are a few common issues that arise in many communities, and most of them have a simple and appropriate fix. Here’s how management can go about getting a resolution.
Safety and security measures are top of the list for many HOAs. Are people speeding through the neighborhood, rolling through stop signs, and rounding curves way too quickly? Careless drivers are a danger to pedestrians, and many residents will become disgruntled if they feel like they aren’t safe while walking the dog or picking their child up from the bus stop. Managers can help assuage this issue by installing speed limit signage, and if necessary, speed bumps in the community.
If residents become concerned about trespassers or petty theft, the HOA should consider organizing a neighborhood watch. When an NW program is implemented, residents can serve as the “eyes and ears” for their communities and alert local law enforcement if they see anything suspicious.
Depending on the HOA’s bylaws and facilities, managers may be responsible for landscaping, gatekeeping, day-to-day maintenance of common areas, and more. Residents like to see that their fees are being put to good use beautifying their community – so if the HOA lets things slip, it’ll likely hear from homeowners pretty quickly.
Even an HOA that’s doing everything by the book can expect the occasional gripe about the clubhouse paint color or the frequency of the sprinkler system. It’s a good idea to allow residents to give feedback of this nature in community meetings. Often, people just want to feel seen and heard. Though management may not be able to make everyone happy all the time, giving homeowners a chance to speak up can make all the difference in their attitude.
3. Raising fees
Another common complaint associations face is that of rising fees. As the expenses associated with managing a property accrue over time, it becomes necessary for many HOAs to levy higher fees in order to have enough cash to keep things running smoothly.
While there isn’t much HOAs can do in the way of preventing fee hikes, they can improve resident satisfaction with transparency and communication. Imagine getting a notice detailing new rates, but without additional information. Most of us would be irritated, to say the least.
Instead of simply doling out new rates, managers should communicate the reason for the increase. Did insurance, maintenance, or legal costs go up? A transparent explanation will go a long way in getting residents to buy in.
It falls to the HOA to enforce the rules of the community. While this protects the neighborhood and ensures that neighborhood standards will be met, it’s often a thankless job.
Are rules being enforced fairly, consistently, and across the board? If not, management will probably get some pushback. Resident compliance is a hot button for lots of people, and it’s a good idea for associations to make sure to apply the same standards to everyone on the block.
5. Business meetings
Are business meetings accessible for the majority of residents? If the HOA holds them at 9 a.m. on Mondays, it might be excluding people with traditional working hours. If it schedules meetings by word of mouth without sending out notices, there’s a decent chance some residents will miss the memo.
Meetings give the community an opportunity to air any issues they might be having. Often, small quibbles and minor issues can be resolved on the spot, before they spiral into a headache for the association. So, the HOA should make meetings accessible to residents.
People can be remarkably obtuse about their pets. Little Spot may be a cute member of the family, but when his owners don’t curb him on afternoon walks, he quickly becomes a neighborhood nuisance. Likewise, excessive barking, aggression, and other undesirable pet traits can affect the whole street – and pretty soon residents will demand action.
In this situation, preventive action is always a good idea. The association should have clear bylaws that lay out expectations for pet behavior, size, and breed restrictions.
Residents will be thankful
In the end, most resident complaints can be resolved easily, whether it’s by listening and validating a member’s feelings and working to resolve an issue, or by implementing good preventive measures to help avoid common complaints. The community will be thankful for the hard work the management put in to make the community excellent. VendorSmart℠ is a comprehensive, web-based marketplace that connects vendors and community managers. At VendorSmart℠, we understand that third-party vendor relationships are critical to the success of any association or condo complex. Our software and team of industry professionals guarantee full compliance vetting for every vendor we connect with your management company at no cost to you or the vendor. Want to learn more? Schedule a demo today.