Category Archives: HOA

conflict resolution

Best Practices for Conflict Resolution in Your HOA

Homeowners Associations (HOAs) are a great way to maintain the value and quality of life in a neighborhood. Sometimes conflicts arise within an HOA, however, which can lead to tension and dissatisfaction among the homeowners. Whether it’s an issue between neighbors, a case of choosing sides, or a resident’s dispute with the HOA itself, it’s important to resolve things quickly and calmly.

At Goodwin and Company, we understand how important it is to feel a sense of peace, community and purpose within your neighborhood, and we’re committed to helping you at every step along the way. Read on for some basic best practices for resolving conflict in your HOA and reestablishing that sense of peace.

Establish Clear Communication Channels

Make sure all homeowners are aware of the communication channels available to them: email, phone, text chain, social media and/or in-person meetings. You can use these channels to make sure all important information is communicated to all members of the HOA. This will cut down on confusion and misunderstandings that might end up in conflict. When actively trying to cool a situation down, these same channels are invaluable to stopping trouble as soon as it starts.

Develop a Conflict Resolution Policy

A resolution policy is crucial to prevent conflicts. It’s best to establish a clear and concise policy proactively before any issues arise. This policy should outline the necessary steps, assign responsibilities, and establish a timeline for resolving conflicts. To ensure that all homeowners understand and actively participate in the resolution process, it’s crucial to obtain their agreement. By following these steps, you can prevent potential problems and foster a harmonious community.

Encourage Open Dialogue

It may sound basic, but this can actually be very easy to overlook in the heat of the moment. Encourage all parties involved to express their concerns and opinions openly and honestly. Ask follow-up questions and stick to “I” statements: “I feel…” “It seemed to me…” and so on, centering your words on your own experience and how the situation is affecting you. Listen carefully to each person’s perspective and acknowledge their feelings and concerns. It’s a simple thing, but it’s the key to civility and that’s what is going to get you through this trouble.

Be Respectful and Professional

Conduct all interactions with professionalism and respect. Avoid personal attacks and stick to the issues at hand. Remember that everyone involved is a member of the same community. Residents have chosen to create and live in a community with one another. That choice is a deeply important aspect of your neighborhood and collective life. Remember that every conflict has a resolution, and it’s the job of all parties to find it as easily and quickly as possible.

Seek Mediation

If you aren’t able to come to an equitable solution yourselves, consider bringing in a neutral third party to help mediate the conflict. This could be a professional mediator or someone outside the HOA who is trusted by all parties involved. When neighbors get upset with one another, it can really help to have a less involved voice of reason to help them find a solution.

Follow Through

Once a resolution has been reached, make sure all parties follow through on their commitments. This will help build trust and prevent future conflicts. The covenants between HOA and homeowner don’t mean much if we don’t keep our word, even when issues get complicated or too drawn-out. Ultimately, everyone involved has the same goal. It’s just a case of getting there together, and that means compromise and commitment.

Learn From the Conflict

After the conflict has been successfully resolved, reflect on what went wrong and how this issue can be prevented in the future. Updating policies, improving communication or addressing underlying issues within the community are just some of the ways you can use this situation to improve life for everyone in the neighborhood.

Count on Goodwin and Company

Remember that conflict is a natural part of any community. By establishing clear communication channels and resolution policies, remaining respectful and professional, and seeking mediation when necessary, your HOA can fulfill its mandate by effectively managing conflicts to maintain a healthy, thriving community.

Since 1978, Goodwin & Company has offered best-in-class community management to the finest homeowners associations and condominiums all across Texas. We are here to help manage your community in both good times and more challenging times. We have the experiences and the resources to give your community the service it deserves.

hoa spring cleaning

Spring Cleaning Tips for Your HOA

Spring is a glorious time of year. After a winter spent indoors and the business of fall and the holidays, spring can be as relaxing and refreshing as it is a time for work, especially cleaning, and preparing for summers. Let’s look at the best ways to approach annual spring cleaning in a way that supports and enlivens your HOA community.

1. Walk the Premises

Get out and have a look at your community, making note of anything that needs upkeep or further review. You can use this time to walk your neighborhood and say hello, if weather permits. Connection with your constituents only gets them more excited to live in your community.

Look at the lawns, backyard fences, street-facing windows and other visual markers of quality to be sure everyone’s property remains in good condition. There’s no need to be abrasive when you’re doing your light inspections, remember: simply ask in a friendly way about any issues that concern you.

2. Top to Bottom

We often forget what we can’t easily see, but that doesn’t make the hidden places any less important. Rooftops are worth checking for damage and missing shingles or tiles at this time, as well as making sure foundations are strong and foundation vents are in good repair. That’s the first step to making sure they are free of wildlife, which you’re also advised to do at this time.

3. Deep Cleaning

Start by creating a community spring cleaning plan to ensure you don’t forget any of those nook and crannies. 

Power-clean and/or refinish all HOA property, like the tennis court or pool deck. Spring is a fine time to make your community as beautiful as you know it can be, and with all these other improvements you’re making, a dingy pool house will really stick out. This is a great time for repainting, especially after a deep clean.

4. Landscaping

While landscaper and gardening visits are mostly scheduled year-round, there is a special excitement to planning out your spring foliage and florals. Make sure you have the correct amounts of supplies for this busiest gardening season like mulch, soil and whatever your landscaper uses for shared spaces.

If you’re too busy to coordinate a Board or community effort to spruce up shared landscaping, meet with your HOA management team to help organize a reliable vendor to come out and ensure your landscaping gets the TLC it needs. We have a few tips on hiring the perfect landscaping vendor

5. Pool Maintenance 

Those days of basking in the sunshine and taking dips or doing laps in the pool will be here before you know it. Make sure you’re prepared by cleaning up the area, checking all filters and traps, and making sure you’re stocked up on supplies, like chlorine, for the pool-using season.

Also, don’t forget to schedule a pre-spring pool inspection and cleaning before the sunbathers begin to congregate at your poolside. There are several ways to get your community pool summer-ready

6. Check Water Systems

Irrigation is key, especially in spring and summer, to maintaining a fresh, clean look. Spring is when the most plants bloom and flower, and you don’t want to miss out on that natural beauty. Check all sprinklers and garden beds for proper watering and make sure any hoses are hole-free.

7. Safety Patrol

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms should be tested twice yearly. It’s advised to make one of those tests during your spring cleaning, and the other post-summer. 

This is also a reminder to schedule your annual fire inspection and any health inspections that may be necessary. Your gym and any playground equipment should be tested, cleaned and tightened, and those high-traffic areas should be given special cleaning and maintenance attention. 

If there are any speed deterrents in your community make sure they’re in optimal condition, as well as any signage that may have gone missing or is otherwise in need of replacement.

Bring It Home With Goodwin & Company

Spring cleaning, organization and maintenance are an exciting time to prepare for the coming summer and coming year. Think of all the pain you’ll be saving yourself when summer comes around, and relax knowing you and your community are in the best of hands.

Reach out to Goodwin & Company today with all your HOA management questions, no matter how small. Our experts are here to help you with whatever you need.

Video Surveillance in HOA Common Areas: Balancing Security and Liability

Homeowner’s Associations (HOAs) are responsible for maintaining the security of common areas such as parks, playgrounds, and swimming pools. In recent years, many HOAs have turned to video surveillance as a tool to enhance security and reduce liability. This article will examine the benefits and challenges of video surveillance in HOA common areas, and offer suggestions for how to strike a balance between security and liability.

Benefits of Video Surveillance in HOA Common Areas

Enhanced Security: Video surveillance provides a visual record of activity in common areas, allowing HOAs to respond quickly to any security incidents. This can include anything from theft and vandalism to accidents and assaults. By having a visual record of these incidents, HOAs can take appropriate action to resolve them and prevent them from happening again in the future.

Liability Reduction: Video surveillance can also help HOAs reduce their liability by providing evidence of what happened in the event of a legal dispute. For example, if a resident is injured in a common area, video footage can help determine whether the HOA was responsible or not. This evidence can also be used to defend against false claims and minimize the risk of costly lawsuits.

Deterrent Effect: The presence of video surveillance can also have a deterrent effect on criminal activity. Knowing that their actions are being recorded can deter individuals from committing crimes in common areas.

Challenges of Video Surveillance in HOA Common Areas

Privacy Concerns: One of the biggest challenges of video surveillance in HOA common areas is the potential for privacy violations. Residents may feel uncomfortable knowing that their actions are being recorded, and may be concerned about who has access to the footage.

Cost: Installing and maintaining a video surveillance system can be expensive. HOAs must carefully consider the cost of the system and the ongoing maintenance costs to ensure that they are getting a good return on their investment.

Technical Challenges: Video surveillance systems can be complex, and HOAs must ensure that they are using the right equipment and software to get the results they need. They must also be prepared to deal with technical issues such as hardware failures and software bugs.

Balancing Security and Liability

Privacy Policy: To balance security and privacy, HOAs should develop a clear privacy policy that outlines the purpose of the video surveillance system and who has access to the footage. This policy should be communicated to residents to ensure that they understand the purpose of the system and their rights.

Maintenance: To ensure that the video surveillance system is working effectively, HOAs must ensure that it is well-maintained and that any technical issues are addressed promptly. Regular checks of the system should be conducted to ensure that it is functioning as intended.

Employee Training: HOAs should provide training to employees who will be using the video surveillance system to ensure that they understand how to use it effectively. They should also be trained on privacy and data protection policies to ensure that they are using the system in an ethical and responsible manner.

Video surveillance can be an effective tool for enhancing security and reducing liability in HOA common areas. However, HOAs must carefully consider the privacy implications of video surveillance and take steps to balance security and privacy. By developing a clear privacy policy, ensuring regular maintenance of the system, and providing employee training, HOAs can strike a balance between security and liability and provide a safe and secure environment for residents.