Complaining About the HOA Complainer

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C.P. from Hartford County writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

I am president of our HOA. We have one unit owner that is the busy body complainer. She has a problem with parking. She said that since the board will not employ a tow company she is working with the local fire department so that she can call the police and have people towed, basically, so she doesn’t have to ask the board for approval.  We have 13 units built in 1982 in an eighth utilities district.  Is this legal?

Mister Condo replies:

C.P., thirteen units and only one busy body complainer? Well, aren’t you the lucky HOA president? Sorry to poke fun but sometimes you just have to laugh to appreciate the local craziness that goes into running any HOA, even a small one like yours. Thank you for your service to your community.

First off, there is a difference between someone who has a problem with the parking plan at the HOA and a busy body complainer. For the most part, your parking is described in your HOA documents which very likely detail where unit owners can and cannot park. I assume that local building codes and fire regulations were taken into account when the parking plan was drawn up. As long as no laws or ordinances are being broken, your local fire department won’t have anything to say about how you park in your private property. And the local police department will be even less interested in hearing from your complainer about how people park on private property. As long as no laws are being broken, the police shouldn’t take action. They aren’t in the business of towing vehicles from private property.

I think the larger problem here, C.P., may be the relationship between your Board and your residents, and, in particular, your complainer. When people buy into a community association there is certainly an expectation that rules will be observed by fellow residents and enforced by the Board of Directors. In a small community like yours that often means, like it or not, you and your fellow Board members become the local sheriff. You don’t have to aggressively enforce the rules but you will almost always find critics amongst your community members. Too strict and you’re a “bully”; too relaxed and you’re “lazy”. It can be quite frustrating and is often the reason volunteers stop serving on their association Boards. Please understand that as long as you are doing the best that you can there will just be some people you can never please. The best you can hope for is they clam down and start enjoying the good aspects of living in your HOA. My advice is to treat the complaints as you have been. Acknowledge the complaint, state what can or can’t be done, and move on to the more important business of maintaining, protecting, and enhancing your community association, which is the charge of the Board and the HOA President. All the best!

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