How HOA’s can foster neighbourliness

You walk by them everywhere. They are…your neighbours. But how well do you know them?  Omar Kinnear, developer of ResidentPortal, a communication and information platform for residents in community schemes, believes that active attempts to foster neighbourliness in gated communities not only make for a less conflict, but also result in a happier, safer and more stable community. 

“In and of itself, this is a desirable outcome, but it is also likely to increase the value of properties in the HOA development,” he says.

Communication platforms like ResidentPortal are increasingly utilised in community schemes for their ability to bridge the gap not only between scheme management and residents, but also between residents themselves.

“But for HOAs to build on the improved communication resulting from these platforms, there are additional ways in which they can actively contribute towards a more cohesive and harmonious environment in their scheme,” he notes.

Kinnear shares ideas from an article in Urban Gardens show how, with a bit of compassion, proactivity, and foresight, HOA boards can help keep the peace and ensure a friendly atmosphere in their communities:

Encourage and Facilitate Community Events
The more people interact in casual and friendly settings, the less likely they are to develop a distrust for one another. One of the most effective ways to prevent neighbourly disputes is to ensure that regular community events are on the calendar.

With a variety of potential events perfect for each season and time of year, there should never be any shortage of opportunities to bring the community together. Savvy HOA boards will also find ways to directly involve the community in the planning process. Encouraging neighbours to volunteer to bring various foods, decorating and setting up the event venue, offers them opportunities to work together and mitigate conflict.

Allow privacy
In close-knit communities, tensions can arise when if residents feel like everybody is breathing down their necks, or that their privacy isn’t respected. HOAs can facilitate better relationships with regulations that ensure privacy and respect for property.

For example, allowing residents to build fences along their property boundaries can minimise territorial disputes and complaints about visual nuisances.

Provide mediation
Whenever a potential conflict does arise, the HOA should do everything in its power to be present throughout the process and help resolve the situation. All too often, HOA residents develop a disdain for their associations due to a perceived bias or preference among board members. These perceptions can wreak havoc on the respect and cooperation within the neighbourhood.

By providing mediation and a fair assessment of the complaints on both sides of the argument, HOA members will be more likely to trust their organizations when future matters arise. In lieu of  board rulings, the HOA should attempt to do everything in its power to encourage the parties to come to an amenable agreement.

Minimise Bureaucracy
One of the biggest drawbacks to HOAs, say many prospective home buyers, is the feeling that their lives will be micro-managed by an entity. Relatively few people want to feel bossed around on property they’ve purchased. All too often, when disputes among neighbours arise, residents resort to bureaucratic rules and technicalities and wage war against one another.

HOAs can minimise this behaviour and ensure neighbours get along more effectively by eliminating or avoiding rules and regulations that may likely create tension. While HOAs need some regulations to ensure the community is enjoyed by all, they shouldn’t become an excuse for neighbours to quarrel.

Keeping the peace can sometimes be a challenge, but board members and neighbours alike have a responsibility to work at it. HOAs can reduce tensions by allowing for more at-home privacy, minimising minutiae on the books, providing arbitration, and encouraging the community to interact often.

Ref: https://www.urbangardensweb.com/2018/09/05/how_hoa_members_can_be_good_neighbors/

Developed by Sandton-based software consulting and development company, Business Xponent Solutions (BXS), Resident Portal is one of the products emerging from the 20 years of experience in the software industry of its founder, Omar Kinnear.  One of the original developers of the SARS eFiling platform, Kinnear brings to Resident Portal a wealth of knowledge of system performance and security.

Since 2016, around 100 complexes are using the Free Plan of ResidentPortal, and 1000 residents, mostly in and around Sandton, are enjoying the way the full-featured Standard Plan option is simplifying their lives in their estates and complexes.

For more information, contact Omar Kinnear:  info@residentportal.co.za +27 78 798 3378

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