Homeowners’ Association woes

One of the more frequent questions we receive concerns the various forms of operation of the residential airpark. Usually, this is in the form of a homeowners’ association and the problems involved in getting the various personalities to work together for the betterment of everyone.

Most recently a caller was complaining that the homeowners’ association at his airpark seemed to be dominated by one individual. The person was a member of the board of directors but seemed to have an extraordinary influence on how actions were carried out by the group.

Even when the majority of the board or the action of the entire homeowners’ association was in conflict with what this one individual wanted, he seemed to always get his way and unless that person favored the action nothing was done (or, things were done that others were opposed to.

What can I do about this sort of situation, he inquired?

He indicated that the association rules were pretty clear on the issues and the dominating individual didn’t have the right to do the things he was doing.

Our response wasn’t exactly what this individual really wanted to hear.

The first step, we advised, was for the concerned property owner to try and sit down with the offending individual and the board of directors and discuss the concerns and the issues in a pleasant atmosphere. See if the issues can be clarified and attempt to work them out amicably, we suggested.

If that step doesn’t work, the next course of action of to get others in the association who feel the same way and hire a mediator to see if the problem can be resolved in that manner. Often the issues are simply misunderstandings among the parties and pent-up frustrations block the normally cooperative individuals from seeing the other point of view. A trained mediator can usually work through the issues without any animosity arising the resolve the problems.

If that isn’t the case in your airpark, there are just a few ways to turn from there. One, you can mount a political campaign to get the board member out and insist that the supportive property owners stand firm.
Another approach is to simply ignore the individual and the problem, although that hardly seems the way to turn if actions contrary to what the majority wants are taking place.

Of course, you can sell your property and move away; obviously not the course of action most people want or will take.

Lastly, comes legal action. Frankly, we discourage that course of action because it is costly to everyone, it takes a tremendous amount of time and in most situations it doesn’t really seem to work.