Homeowners Associations and Social Media: Potential Pitfalls

Ever since social media burst onto the scene nearly 20 years ago with websites like MySpace and Facebook, it has completely reshaped how we interact with each other on a personal scale. But it’s also reshaped how we interact professionally and in other areas, including housing and HOA’s.

But while social media can be a handy tool to connect with each other and promote news of a community, it can also be a platform for misuse and present the potential for legal and reputational concerns. Proper social media use among an HOA should be promoted and practiced in order to avoid any pitfalls.

Here’s a closer look at how social media can present some risky exposures.

An Outlet for Negativity

Some people need to blow off some steam, but an HOA can become an easy target for those who have a negative opinion or notes about an HOA board or those living in a community. From complaints about neighbors to derogatory comments about someone on an HOA board, those who are engaged online find it easier to say negative things than positive.

Oftentimes, these comments and posts are posted more freely and more aggressively than what is expressed in person or at community meetings and events. Social media presents a freedom unmatched by in-person moments of discussion due to a measure of distance. In the end, the consequence with comments and posts is damaged reputations of the HOA or those in the community and even issues with property values. If someone sees these messages online, they may be deterred from joining that very community.

Encouraging Feedback, Not Negativity

As mentioned above, it’s easier to spew out whatever is on your mind when it comes to using social media as a forum. Even though some people may think their posts and opinions are protected and private-use only, others are still able to view what they write. Whether it’s a screenshot or something is shared among community members, nothing is ever really safe and private.

This is even more important to note for HOA board leaders who engage online. Everything should be taken with a grain of salt and be noted as a concern and even addressed individually or in person at an upcoming meeting. Handling things on the same level and with the same attitude as those who post on an HOA’s Facebook page, for example, may be met with claims of slander and libel. Using HOA insurance, such as cyber liability and directors and officers coverage, can help to protect an HOA from these issues, but using caution and awareness during social media use can help limit exposures.

HOA social media pages should be utilized to bring people together and bring voice to concerns as well as helping to come up with solutions to issues. They should not be made to encourage or open the floor for negative comments and messages. While it’s not too common, it’s still possible that someone may post something online and a neighbor takes it upon his or herself to attack them through social media.

HOA leaders should encourage feedback from a community’s members, opening the platforms to advice and notes. And while negative comments and more critical perspectives are expected, it should be urged that those who share their thoughts be respectful of what they post and who they post about.

About Kevin Davis Insurance Services

For over 35 years, Kevin Davis Insurance Services has built an impressive reputation as a strong wholesale broker offering insurance products for the community association industry. Our president Kevin Davis and his team take pride in offering committed services to the community association market and providing them with unparalleled access to high-quality coverage, competitive premiums, superior markets, and detailed customer service. To learn more about the coverage we offer, contact us toll-free at (877) 807-8708 to speak with one of our representatives.