For community association boards, managing HOA fees is crucial to maintain budgets and the success and happiness of community members and protect their properties. However, despite being transparent about fees and homeowner responsibilities when a new owner moves in, boards often deal with complaints from residents about fees.
A system for dealing with community complaints is the first step in successfully resolving residents who have grievances about dues or other issues. What should that look like for your board and community? Our expert community association managers deliver some tips below.
1. Request Complaints About HOA Management Fees In Writing
As a community resident, you live and interact with neighbors regularly. As a board member, you probably hear plenty of complaints from residents while out walking the dog, picking up your mail at the curb, or during community activities. When homeowners realize you're a board member, they probably seek you out or bring up concerns during routine conversations and at inopportune times.
However, before the board can listen to and consider an issue, establish that all complaints must be received in writing. With an "official" complaint to the board, residents have a clear path to being heard about a concern.
Your homeowners' association board can then review documented requests from homeowners during a board meeting, then bring them to the community or address them individually with the resident that submitted the issue. Homeowners need to understand that simply mentioning a problem to a board member won't spur any action to address it by the board.
2. Categorize Complaints
You'll receive a wide variety of complaints throughout your tenure as a board member. When receiving complaints about fees, start by categorizing complaints according to the specific issue raised.
In most cases, homeowners have problems with dues that involve either not paying on time (unreasonable due date) or fee amounts. During homeowners association board meetings, develop responses to common or recurring complaints and make that information available to the board for timely (and accurate) responses. You can also document common questions and their answers in a homeowners portal or within the welcome packet to reduce the volume of complaints about the same issue.
For concerns that affect the community at large, it's a good idea to address them at a community association meeting and in writing where it's available to residents. Avoid naming the complaining homeowner in these situations. However, for issues that you hear about from more than one resident or that come up often, creating an agenda item to dress the concern is a good way to be transparent and forthcoming with information to residents.
3. Communicate Proactively About the Management Fee
One of the best ways to deal with complaints is to prevent them! In many cases, community concerns come up when homeowners feel misinformed or uninformed. So when it's time to raise the amount of HOA property management fees, boards should proactively communicate about it with the community. Make the announcement with plenty of time before the next round of fees is due to allow homeowners to understand the changes and ask questions.
Any time a new fee goes into effect, HOA boards should also provide plenty of documentation to make homeowners aware of the need for an increase. Whether it's due to community growth, a new project or enhancement, or the rising cost of routine services, be transparent about the association's fees and how they're put to use.
The best way to resolve a complaint regarding HOA management fees is open communication with your homeowners on how their dues are used for expenses that contribute directly to their well-being while living in the community.
4. Hire An Association Management Company to Deal With Complaints
All community associations can benefit from a professional HOA management company that oversees the community's daily operations and community development projects. Working with one of the best HOA management companies in Central Florida means your HOA board has a buffer to deal with resident issues and complaints--without putting board members in direct conflict with their neighbors.
A professional community manager can help homeowners associations deal with complaints by following up on each one before presenting it to the board for consideration, assuring that you understand each complaint fully, and conveying issues directly with homeowners when appropriate.
This allows the board to focus its attention on larger issues facing the community rather than being bogged down with community member complaints.
Choose An HOA Management Company to Resolve Complaints!
It's an unfortunate reality that some homeowners will complain about the HOA management fee they've paid. They may feel like their voice is being ignored or unheard, and this can lead to a number of issues for your board members too. Fortunately, there are ways you can get ahead of it all by taking a proactive approach with Revolution Association Management. We're experts in association management and customer service, so we'll help take care of any complaints from residents while also ensuring everything runs smoothly on your end as well! Learn more about how we help associations support strong communities when you reach out to our team.