Negotiation not Litigation for Your Homeowners


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Without a board, a community association would cease to function. Many organizations are challenged to find enough volunteers to serve on the board, as some owners are afraid of being sued or becoming involved in a dispute with a contractor or, more worryingly, a neighbor. Some councils believe they must sue in the beginning instead of trying to solve a problem amicably. I believe that negotiation is the first action that all cards must be considered for resolving disputes association.

Ask any board member, community manager, insurance agent or a lawyer what the number one recommendation is legal and financial. Certainly, all will tell you to avoid litigation. Litigation is costly and slow. More often, neither party ends up being what you want. Certainly there are times when litigation is the only resource, but I am convinced that most problems can be resolved through negotiation. After many years of experience in managing community associations, I can personally say that negotiation is resolved most issues at a lower cost and less distress to the association and the owners.

Collecting delinquent assessments is a major problem in most associations in the community during these tough economic times. Quick reference instead of an attorney delinquent owners of the collection, first try to negotiate with the owner. Association of Community Boards have the authority to consider and offer payment plans to homeowners who have clearly shown a financial burden and they will to carry your checking account if you can extend your payments. The Council must ensure that a lien is presented for registration and the payment agreement made in writing by both parties. If all goes as planned, the account is updated, the board held to its fiduciary duty to the association and the owner defaulted greatly appreciates the fact that the board was understanding and compassionate. And the association does not spend time and money in litigation!

The declaration of an association, the governing documents, become protagonist is another example of first negotiation to try before resorting to litigation. The successful partnerships in the community have clearly written policy resolutions establishing procedures for implementing the rules, including holding hearings and appeals process. Many rules violations can be resolved through negotiation. Most homeowners appreciate a manager and / or  board that takes the time to explain a violation of the rules and why they issued a citation. Quiet, intelligent conversation, not confrontation really works. To be fair, reasonable and consistent, and approval of changes in your case, results in a respectful and rewarding in a community, residents and volunteer leaders to become star.

These are just some examples of why it is better to negotiate and litigate only as a last result. Come on, become the protagonists.  Focus on resolutions and save your association some big money!

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