Managing Noise Complaints in HOAs

As an HOA board member, you’ll likely experience a lot of complaints from HOA residents. While in a perfect world, no one would have an issue to deal with, HOA complaints are expected. Neighbors who feel they’re in the right will quickly bring their grievances before the board, leaving members scrambling to decide how to take care of the matter. One such issue that comes up regularly is noise complaints in HOAs that violate HOA noise ordinances. From loud music or parties that go on all night to barking dogs that wake the neighbors, HOA noise violations can come in many different forms.

Here are some ways that board members can handle HOA resident issues related to noise complaints.

Set the Rules

Noise complaints can range from issues with animals to parties raging through the night. One of the most common noise complaints in condo communities, for example, is also ripping up flooring, a noisy process that can be loud and frustrating for neighbors below. By setting up clear rules on noise issues, an HOA can help avoid complaints altogether.

An HOA should set up steps for members to take before undertaking renovations, adding a new pet, or being up all night. By setting rules, HOA boards can set an example of what they expect from their residents. This includes only permitting construction or renovations during regular business hours and enforcing residents to obey the quiet hours after 10 pm.

Settle It as a Community

One way HOA boards can help settle disputes between neighbors is by bringing the parties together for a conversation. Many people can struggle with conflict in real-time and don’t want to engage their accusers or those they’re accusing in person.

As a result, the board may hear about the issue long before the individual in question does. Even if the neighbors have spoken about the issues before, sitting down together with a moderator from the HOA board can help everyone reach a fair compromise.

What to Do When a Compromise Isn’t Reached

While you hope for the best, some neighbors can remain stubborn and stick to their guns, as it were. It may be that one party is very sensitive to a type of noise or has to be up for work very early every day. When an agreement can’t be reached, it’s crucial to establish clear guidelines that everyone can live with and clarify what complaints the board won’t be dealing with moving forward.

An HOA board should consult the rules they set and remind homeowners of the bylaws they agreed to when joining the community. The HOA can mediate to a certain point, but when it moves beyond rules and guidelines, there is little that can be done. The HOA should not overstep its bounds by getting in the middle of the parties after mediation has failed, as this may create a bigger problem than anticipated.

Knowing the responsibilities can make it easier for HOA board members to handle the noise complaints that come their way and avoid any drawn-out fights between neighbors.

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