article image 2-13-23.jpgHow HOAs Can Deal with Internal Conflict

February 13, 2023

Unity is essential to the efficacy of any organization. This is especially true for organizations such as HOAs that must serve the interest of community members with integrity and consistency. Like any other group, though, there are certainly instances in which discord and conflict may arise. When this happens, community associations should take steps to address and minimize internal conflict. Learn more about these steps and the internal conflicts an HOA may face.

Insurance for Community Associations

Community associations must invest in coverage against liabilities that often affect HOAs. These liabilities include neighborhood security, financial responsibility, and debt management. Internal conflict may emerge, though, when strategizing the best way to cover these liabilities. There are many insurance options, including management or general liability coverage. Board members should collaborate to discuss the various insurance options and choose the one that’s best for their community. Forgoing coverage will leave an HOA vulnerable to litigation and financial losses, so finding the right policy is vital.

Awarding of Business Contracts

Many community associations also face internal conflict when it comes time to award business contracts. HOA contracts for tasks such as landscaping or security are necessary to serve community residents, and they can be lucrative for the recipient contractors. This potential windfall from such a contract may cause conflict as HOA members advocate for their associates. HOAs should only award contracts based on the qualifications of a candidate.

Enforcement of Standards

HOAs often maintain many rules regarding their community members’ actions and the upkeep of their homes. However, the enforcement of these rules may be the subject of dispute if board members disagree regarding the best protocol. Some HOAs opt to enforce their standards by levying fines against any community members who commit an infraction. Others may issue written warnings. It’s important for community associations to carefully consider the advantages and disadvantages of each enforcement method that’s on the table.

Identifying Conflicts of Interest

The worst conflict of all is a conflict of interest. This happens when an HOA board member maintains a business interest or relationship that may interfere with their ability to advocate for members’ needs impartially. For example, if a board member awards a business contract to a family member or friend rather than a more deserving contractor, this constitutes a conflict of interest. HOA leaders must be prudent not to indulge in any behavior that may go against the interests of the community they represent.

Delegating Tasks in Community Associations

Community associations serve an essential function by advocating for residents and coordinating community care. When internal conflict impairs this function, it can make it difficult to delegate tasks effectively. The delegation of tasks may be a source of conflict in and of itself, as HOA members fight for control of different responsibilities. Leaders should determine HOA roles and responsibilities based on the unique skills and knowledge that each board member brings to the table. ◼