January 13, 2012 – In this week’s tip, we lend some advice to consider before you bellow to an owner, “You obviously don’t belong here. Maybe you should get out!”
“It’s perfectly true that there are a number of people—and I’ve seen this time and again—who just should not live in a condo, HOA, or co–op because they’re just not psychologically prepared to share their housing decisions,” says Robert Galvin, a partner at Davis, Malm & D’Agostine PC in Boston who specializes in representing condos and co–ops. “That doesn’t make them bad people. Those people should simply own a detached single–family home.”
If you’ve been tempted to tell owners they should just pack up and move to a place where there are no rules, you’re not alone. “I think we’ve all thought that at one point or another,” says Duane McPherson, Addison, Texas–based western region division president at RealManage, an association management firm that oversees properties in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Nevada, and Texas. “When people buy into an HOA, the governing documents are there for them to review, and it shouldn’t ever be a surprise that you have to comply with the rules. But in all the years I’ve been doing this, which is way too many, I’ve never said that to anyone.”
McPherson has gotten the point across more politely. “HOAs are restrictive by their very nature to keep property values in place,” he says. “There are people who don’t want to live by those restrictions and certainly should think of moving to another place. There have been times I’ve said that to people. For those who don’t want to live by HOA rules, you can tell them in a nice way that maybe they should consider living in a place that doesn’t have these types of rules.”
Getting much more forceful could be dangerous. Find out why in our new article, Can You Encourage HOA Owners to Get Up and Go?
Matt Humphrey is president of the Alameda, California-based HOAleader.com, from which this article was adapted.