In urban areas, apartment blocks and condominiums are the norm and in most cases a homeowners association runs the property or properties. This means that though one may own their own “house”, a person may have to abide by the rules and regulations put down by the association. While this is a good thing for harmonious living, it can become frustrating when one receives complaints from a homeowners association about the state of their home, its occupants, or activity therein. While complaints may be inevitable in some cases, knowing how to handle them is an advantage to any homeowner.
Here is how to Respond to Homeowners Association complaints:
Understand the rules and regulations of the association- When a new person moves into the homeowners association domain, they will be issued a written copy of the association bylaws. Each homeowner or tenant is expected to follow the guidelines provided. If a copy of association bylaws is not received upon move in, a request should be made.
Investigate the complaint and understand it clearly- Nobody can respond to a complaint properly if it is not understood. Read the complaint carefully and be open to the possibility that you broke a rule. There is no need to engage the homeowners association in a dispute if compliance is the easier route to resolving the issue.
Juxtapose the complaint and the association rules for comparison- If a person believes that their rights are being unfairly taken away or an unfair complaint was made, a comparison of the homeowners association rules against the complaint is the next logical step. This study should establish the legitimacy of the complaint to the rules; if you find an error, make a copy of the relevant page and circle the appropriate area before turning it back in for review. If, for instance, the color code is said to have been violated but the person who received the complaint believes that s/he has conformed with the rules, this should be noted by marking the section of the rules that agrees with your color choice.
The response- The respondent should carefully write their response to the complaint along with their interpretation/reference to the rules. This is the first opportunity you have to defend your position so be courteous and professional. Always keep a copy of the response should the need for future reference arise.
Legal advice- Should the respondent feel the need for assistance, they might consider seeking the services of an attorney. An attorney may be able to help with interpreting the homeowner’s association complaint and the association rules and regulations. They may also be able to explain your rights and privileges as either a tenant or homeowner. Sometimes the nature of the complaint may need the invocation of state or federal law and an attorney will be the best source of such advice.
Getting into a legal battle or even a battle of wits with the homeowners association is not advisable; you need to live there at the end of the day. A careful study of the rules and covenants of such associations is advised before moving in as this may help to prevent future confrontations. A complaint should be valid and not in any way infringing on the rights of the homeowner or tenant. The homeowner or the occupier of the home should do their best to live peacefully with other homeowners and their association.
Son-Rise Property Management is a full service property management company located in Bellingham, WA. Contact us today to see how we can help you find the perfect home to rent or manage your property.