Your HOA Battle Is Over. How Can You Heal the Scars?
Your HOA has just been through the wringer on a hot issue, and the “losing” board members and owners are still steaming. In this week’s tip, we offer suggestions for easing the tension and beginning to work toward peace in your HOA.
“I’ve seen this on a number of occasions,” says Duane McPherson, president of the western region and Dallas⁄Ft. Worth divisions of RealManage, an association management firm that oversees properties in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Nevada, and Texas.
When it’s not just owners but the board that has still–smarting members, McPherson suggest a sit–down. “The best thing to do is to have a meeting to get everything aired out and to get everyone to understand what others are thinking,” he says. “You can’t heal a community unless you heal a board first. And if you can’t heal a rift in the board, there’s nothing else you can do.”
McPherson calls these planning meetings, and he tells board members the idea is to plan for the association’s future. “In that meeting, you address the dissention, the issues that happened, and look for common ground and long–term goals everybody wants,” he says. “You can say, ‘Everybody wants a financially healthy association.’ That’s a broad goal, and we can get buy–in for that.
“You also have to address the areas where board members didn’t agree,” adds McPherson. “So you have to air the dirty laundry. Until you do that, you can’t get people’s feelings to heal. The idea is to pull them together in a common direction, get everybody to air their comments, and try to work together. I’ve seen this work on a number of occasions, but you have to be patient. You may not be able to get everybody to buy in, but most people will come around.”
Can you involve the “losers” in HOA governance in ways that will help them heal? Should you apologize for anything that happened during the battle? And are there tactics you can use in future fights that would avoid this post–battle tension altogether? Get answers to those questions in our new article, Healing Wounds After a Tough HOA Battle.