How to Handle Factions in Your Association

An image of a disgruntled person in front of a computer.

If your association is facing a significant conflict between two different groups of homeowners, it’s easy to feel frustrated and overwhelmed. After all, as a board member, it’s easy to feel like fixing the problem is your number one job. While you may actually have more important things to do, there are a few steps you can take to try and make things better.

What is a Faction?

Factions are polarized groups that identify around an issue or a set of issues. You may end up with a group of older homeowners with different views on certain rules than younger homeowners, for instance. You can also end up with renters vs. owners, people who want certain amenities vs. those who don’t want them, and more.

How to Handle Factions

While it may be impossible to fully eliminate factions and their influence over your HOA, there are a few things you can do to limit their reach.

Nip It In the Bud

If you get wind of factions developing in your association, address the problems quickly and directly. That way, you can do your best to keep people from getting polarized or to limit the spread of the faction. When people are sure that the board is on top of an issue and is dealing with it effectively, they will be less likely to develop polarized views and feel like fighting the people who disagree with them.

Talk It Out

Start a conversation about the issues at hand as soon as possible. Help people on both sides talk to each other and listen to what the others have to say. This can be extremely difficult and stressful and you may decide to bring in an outside mediator to help your association through this process. While this process may not be successful, it may help remove some of the rancor that can develop when factions take hold.

Bring in the Legal Team

Talk to your HOA’s legal advisors about how to handle the problem. You don’t want to take any steps that are against the law, and you also don’t want to let either faction do so, either. You may want to sit down with the leaders on each side and talk to them about their legal rights and responsibilities, as well as what they need to do if they want to make change happen. After all, it is the homeowners who ultimately decide how the HOA works, when they vote.

Put It to a Vote

Instead of pitting the board for or against any faction, simply tell people how to get their issues on the next HOA ballot. Your bylaws will outline this process so people can choose how they want to bring the issues that are important to them to the public eye. If something gets voted down, this also allows you to tell one faction or the other that it isn’t the board who is against them, but the majority of the neighborhood that voted against their point of view.

Contact us at AMI today if you need help dealing with factions in your HOA and for leading community management services in southwest Florida.

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