Living in area managed by a Homeowners Association ("HOA") may seem to impart a potential sense of community, but in any community, there is always a potential for conflict.
Cite the Rulebook: Homeowner’s Associations give out guides or policy books that, for all intents and purposes, set out the rules for living in that community. If someone’s misconduct violates the established rules, then pointing out the infraction in the language of the rulebook can be an effective form of advocacy.
Show Your Evidence: Persuasion is easier when you provide proof. For instance, if the issue involves a supposedly missed maintenance fee, then include a copy of the payment notice with the letter. Likewise, when you send your HOA complaint letter, you may want to consider sending it via registered mail, as well as keeping a copy for your records. In so doing, you can later show that the Homeowners Association was aware of the problem.
Convince, Don’t Abuse: Interpersonal conflict can involve strong emotions, and a dispute with someone in a Homeowners Association community is no different. Personal attacks or the use of profanity may provide some form of cathartic release, but it is also counterproductive. The art of persuasion means winning someone over, which is nearly impossible if they have been insulted or otherwise offended. Worse still, threatening language in any letter could possibly lead to an adverse reaction such as the filing of a criminal complaint. Finally, don’t forget the provide a solution in HOA letters: tell the Homeowners Association what you want them to do for you.
Usually, a dispute involving a Homeowners Association can be handled by the complainant themselves. However, if a Homeowners Association is known for acting in a unfair or arbitrary way, a person may want to consider the possibility of getting a lawyer. (Accordingly, the information herein should not be interpreted as actual legal advice). The fact that a homeowner is represented by an attorney may demonstrate the complaint’s resolve and possibly prevent a vindictive reaction to a reasonable and justified complaint letter. Of course, if litigation is required to resolve the matter, then an attorney can formulate a case and advocate for the best possible outcome.
As with any dispute, the opportunity for rational discourse should not be ruled out. A discussion that involves active listening can uncover the driving force behind a problem, and together, the parties involved can change their behavior. Unfortunately, some people are simply not inclined to listen. When that happens, then writing a HOA complaint letter may suffice.