Whenever a group of people live near each other, disputes are bound to occur. Even if your community is a peaceful one, sometimes neighbors have issues with each other. However, if your Board knows how to manage neighbor disputes fairly, they do not have to escalate into an out-of-control situation.

Keep reading to learn the best ways to diffuse neighbor disputes in your community.

What are the Common Causes of Neighbor Disputes

First, we need to discuss why neighbor disputes might occur. Sometimes, two neighbors may have ongoing issues because of personality conflicts. However, the following reasons are much more likely to cause a problem between neighbors.

  • Pet noise and complaints.
  • Other noise problems, such as loud parties, noisy music, disturbances from children, etc.)
  • Odors
  • Illegal activity
  • Visual impairments, such as overgrown lawns, overflowing trash, overhanging trees, and more 

How to Handle Neighbor Disputes Fairly

If neighbors in your community have a dispute, they will likely bring it up with the Board. Therefore, it will be up to the Board to handle the dispute fairly. Make sure to follow these suggestions to ensure homeowners in your community feel the ruling is fair and equal. 

1)Investigate the dispute thoroughly.
Anytime there is a neighbor dispute in your community, your Board should take the matter seriously. That means opening an official investigation and gathering all essential information before providing judgment.

The best way to ensure the investigation is conducted fairly is to assign a person to investigate. Often, this person will be a Board director or property manager. They should ask the following questions.

  • Are there any broken laws or community rules in this dispute?
  • What is the frequency of the incident?
  • What have the neighbors done to resolve the dispute themselves?
  • What is the evidence for and against the alleged incident or offense? 

2)Follow your governing documents’ rules and regulations.
HOAs and other community associations have governing documents for a reason. These will help guide your decision about the dispute. Your Board should always render judgment that is in line with your governing documents.

For example, if a community rule violation has been shown to occur, the Board should take enforcement action against the neighbor responsible for the rule violation. Also, remember that associations should intervene in cases of harassment.

3)Only take legal action if it is necessary.
Finally, if one of the parties in the dispute has broken federal, state, or local laws, your HOA should take legal action. This type of resolution should be an absolute last option. However, in some cases, especially illegal drug use and other violations, legal action will be required. Contact an attorney to help you mediate these situations properly.

Neighbor disputes can be extremely disruptive to a community. If you find your Board overseeing a lot of neighbor disputes, you may benefit from the help of an experienced property management company. Communities in suburban Maryland cannot do better than D.H. Bader Management. With decades of experience in the industry, our properties have distinguished themselves by providing the most superior and personal service possible.

Contact D.H. Bader today to learn how we can help your Board resolve neighbor disputes fairly.