How To Handle Neighbor Disputes In A Fair Manner
Disputes are an inevitable part of living in communities. When people live near each other, they are bound to disagree occasionally. As an association board member knows, disagreements between residents and the board happen often. However, disputes between neighbors are even more common.
In the rest of this article, we will discuss how your board can moderate neighbor disputes fairly.
Why Do Neighbor Disputes Happen?
While many types of disputes exist in community associations, the most common is between neighbors. There are many reasons why neighbors may end up in conflict with each other. We have included the most common below.
Noise complaints (including pets, loud parties, loud music, early construction work, etc.)
Disturbances caused by children
Visual concerns (including poorly maintained yards, overflowing trash, overhanging tree limbs, and more)
Some of these issues between neighbors are more serious than others, but all can cause serious disputes.
Tips for Handling Neighbor Disputes Fairly
Often neighbors will attempt to solve a dispute among themselves. However, sometimes such a resolution is not possible. In that case, the board may have to step in, or the neighbors may bring the dispute to the board. Either way, your board should have a plan to resolve the dispute fairly.
The following steps can help you design a dispute resolution plan that works for your residents equally.
1) Start an official investigation
The first question that must be answered is…do the Associations’ Governing Documents give the Board the authority and responsibility to get involved? If so, The Board must be an objective third party to the dispute and appoint a single person to investigate the situation.
The person in charge of the investigation should attempt to learn as many facts about the dispute as possible. To do this, they may want to ask the following questions:
Is this an Association or Civil problem?
Does the disagreement involve any broken laws or regulations?
How often did the alleged violation occur?
How have the neighbors handled the dispute thus far?
What is the evidence for the alleged offense?
2) Follow your governing rules
After your main investigator has gathered all the facts in the case, it is time to determine your next actions. Your association’s governing documents should provide steps to take in the event of a neighbor dispute. The documents should also indicate when your board should get involved.
3) Involve the authorities or take legal action if it is warranted
If harassment has occurred in the dispute, your board will be required to contact the proper authorities. You should consult an attorney to determine your next steps in this case.
Disputes are an unfortunate fact of community life. Do not let a neighbor dispute in your community get out of hand. If you need more help handling neighbor disputes fairly in the St. Louis Metropolitan area, contact Community Property Management (CPM). We provide the best property management services on both sides of the Mississippi River.