Dealing with Problem People Disruptive Residents in Your Co-op, Condo or HOA

It's almost axiomatic that when numbers of people live in close quarters with each other, disagreements over noise, odors, shared spaces, and other day-to-day minutia are bound to crop up. This is true even in the most usually-harmonious communities. 

In the case of co-ops, condos and HOAs, there may be hundreds, or sometimes even a couple of thousand people residing at the same property, which means the likelihood of disagreement among neighbors exponentially increases. How boards and managers perceive and handle such issues depends on the nature and severity of the complaint, of course, but one thing is certain: it's up to condo and HOA administrators to step in and do their best to mediate things when tempers flare and disagreements erupt between residents, or between residents and the board.

Trouble Comes Your Way

“It doesn’t matter if it’s a big building or a small building, from time to time there will be intra-neighbor relations complaints,” says Beth Markowitz, president of a New York City-based management firm. “It could be leaving garbage in the hallway outside their door to a neighbor walking around late at night in high heels—when you are in a communal living setting, noise complaints are not uncommon.” 

While complaints can run the gamut—from smoking to recycling to concerns over hoarding—Stuart Halper, a practicing New York City attorney and co-owner of a management firm, says boards should always expect and prepare for complainers.

“Every association has individuals that are troublesome owners,” Halper says. “They are troublesome in that they are not philosophically on the same page as the board and/or they are nuisances in their respective residences.”  

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