Resolve to Get Along (and Not Get a Lawyer) Tips to Promote Association Harmony

According to some condominium and homeowners association managers, it’s getting hot out there.

“People have become more litigious, more angry and more surly,” according to Angela Falzone, co-founder of Association Advocates, Inc. and a residential property manager for more than 35 years. “They want what they want when they want it.”

To some degree, that touchiness is part and parcel of multifamily living, says Falzone. “With condo ownership you have the guy upstairs who owns three percent of the building and you own three percent of the building. You have equal rights. The problem arises when the guy upstairs wants to exercise at four in the morning and you want to sleep.”

As to what makes these disputes prone to escalation, Falzone observes, “There is an entitlement factor; their tolerance level is different.” Too often the attitude is, “I'm working hard and I deserve what I want, and I don't have to look at that stupid sign on the door across the hall.”

The sign to which she refers was a real thing—a festive cardboard pin-up that read, 'Baby On Board—Welcome Joseph!' and was affixed to the front door of one of the units in a complex Falzone's company manages. Problem was, the condo's bylaws prohibit 'any modification of the hallways without board permission' and the proud new parents didn’t ask before they put up their sign.

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