Keeping the Peace: Difficult Conversations with Neighbors
In community residences, good fences do make good neighbors.
But with some pressing issues when you have no choice but to be vocal about your problems.
Community boards and homeowner associations often hire third-party services like Community Management Associates to have these difficult conversations.
These people are professionals who assist homeowners’ associations (HOA) in improving the community.
Advice from a Community Management Company
The associate manager is their primary point of contact. Aside from accounting and management experience, they must also have well-developed communication skills. This particular skill set is necessary to maintain a professional relationship with the residents.
Here’s how managers keep things cordial while still being stern.
Never Be on the Offensive
It is crucial to be open to resolution when raising an issue with your neighbors. Make sure your priority is solving the problem. Never use it to vent at your neighbor.
Blindly reacting in the heat of the moment does more harm than good. You want a dialogue, not an argument.
Do Not Add Past Grievances to the Issue at Hand
This piling up of old complaints is the worst thing you could do. An allegation immediately puts your neighbor on the defensive.
Your conversation should only center around the issue at hand. People often make the mistake of pulling other residents into the mix. Instead of strengthening your argument, this only makes your neighbor feel attacked.
They are more likely to lash out in anger, turning your issue into a full-blown fight.
Try to See Things from Their Perspective
For example, water from your upstairs neighbor may be trickling into your terrace daily. Instead of stomping there to argue, investigate a bit. They may be simply be watering plants, unaware of any issues downstairs. You can now calmly approach them after being adequately informed of the situation.
Sometimes conflicts may be unavoidable. A neighbor’s damaged car may block your gate.
In such cases be as accommodating as possible. Chances are they’ll do the same for you when the time comes.
Build a Healthy Relationship
Say hello when you run into them, help them carry luggage upstairs when possible. This practice helps build healthy rapport.
So, when the time comes, they are more likely to be amenable to your grievances.
Keep Track in Case of Repeated Offenses
Some neighbors don’t seem to get the memo. If they are not open to resolving things peacefully, make it a point to note down details.
Since the culprit has chosen to ignore your repeated requests, you can inform the associate housing manager about the issue. Since it solidifies your argument, your log is sure to come in handy during this time.
File a Complaint with the Board Only as a Last Resort
Inform the board only if the issue with your neighbor persists despite your repeated requests. Filing a complaint can damage relationships and should be done only as a last resort.
After deliberations, the community members and the board to discuss your issue may introduce new penalties and fines preventing such violations in the future.
This decision affects the entire community rather than just you and the offender. So, it is essential to make communication and resolution the primary weapons in your arsenal.