Even seasoned board members can be daunted by the most difficult part of their volunteerism, managing the owners. Many a meeting has fallen to chaos when the Board did not take management initiative. What started as an opportunity to share opinions and ideas became nothing more than an embittered imbroglio of discontent.
How is one to manage when there are those difficult people who make it their mission to complain at every turn? Who ruin any and every gathering by being persistently critical and oblivious no matter how many times you try to explain things patiently?
Not easily! We advise preemptive management that nips problems in the bud before they escalate. Here are a few management techniques we have tested and found true. We hope you find them true as well!
How Can an HOA in AZ Manage Difficult Owners:
- Announce and rely on the same meeting procedures at every board session. Uniformity ensures that all members know what to expect and helps avoid confusion about how things will go.
- Enforce all meeting procedures fairly and equally. It might feel easier to accommodate an aggressive member that insists the rules don’t apply to them, but stick by your guns!
- Start each meeting with an owner forum and set a strict time limit. Any member wishing to speak may do so for up to a few minutes. Time each speaker and enforce the time limit. Don’t let arguments and debates derail your forum. Stay on schedule and then move on with your agenda. Stick by your guns!
- Listen more, talk less (or not at all!). Ask the disgruntled member to explain their issue. Ask the member questions that demonstrate your critical listening skills. You will show that you’re genuinely interested in hearing what they have to say instead of just arguing against their thoughts. Most people simply want their concerns to be heard and to feel like the board is working towards a fair and informed solution.
- Understand that HOA law and your community are complex, intricate, and detailed. Mistakes will be made. They are unavoidable. When they are discovered, take them by the horns and meet with whatever professional is needed to address and fix the mistake.
- Adopt positive, assertive body language and attitude. Don’t be afraid to tell a joke if it will lighten the mood, but don’t expect witty banter to get you out of serious, and necessary, debates. Remember that confrontational arguments are expected be held without insults, threats, or aggression.
- When calm courtesy and professionalism are of no impact, take bold action. Table that motion, postpone the vote, or adjourn the meeting. Reconvene when you are better able to manage the situation.
How Can an HOA in AZ Deal with More Serious Issues
Not all problems can be handled through deft management and administrative calendaring. Sometimes extraordinary action is necessary. Do you know your nearest police station? Fire department? Hospital? Do you have an accessible community manager or general counsel? Take time to locate nearby emergency resources and prepare general emergency plans and keep your community manager and general counsel in the loop. They have likely seen the problem you have, and may have an easy and ready solution for you.
Get the Assistance of an Arizona HOA Law Firm
If a confrontational member is consistently disrupting board meetings or general operations, then it is best to work with an experienced Arizona HOA law firm on your options. Individual members that have unpaid association dues or continue to violate community rules are more straightforward to handle. Those members that pay their dues and do not clearly violate CC&Rs present more difficult challenges for a board that simply wants to keep the association operating smoothly. The Brown Law Group is exclusively an Arizona HOA law firm. Our experienced attorneys only work with Arizona HOAs and condo associations. We have worked with many HOAs to make sure that a few disgruntled members do not disrupt the community operations. Contact us today at 602-952-6925 to make an appointment or schedule a meeting on our contact us page.
The Brown Law Group shares this article for informational purposes only and it does not create an attorney-client relationship.