The Importance of Good Communication Keeping the Lines Open

No one likes to feel left out or ignored. That is how co-op, condo or HOA residents may feel if they believe their board or managers are not responding to their requests or sharing enough information. What they may not realize however, is that there can be legitimate reasons for silence on the part of board members and managers. Keeping an open line of communication can help eliminate misunderstandings and help establish a healthy level of trust. 

When Questions Come

If an interminable amount of time passes between when a resident makes an inquiry and when the board or manager responds, the resident may feel that their request has not been received or worse yet, ignored. Before long, they may start sharing their frustrations with neighbors and friends, leading to association administrators gaining an unintentional—and perhaps undeserved—reputation for unresponsiveness. 

To avoid such issues, “We have an internal policy to respond to all resident requests within one business day,” says Keith Hales, the president of Chicago-based Hales Property Management, Inc. 

Sluggish response times are hardly ideal, but responding too hastily can also be problematic. “Sometimes things resolve themselves.” Hales says. “As an example, we had a resident who said ‘Hey, my power’s out’ and we answered that in minutes and dispatched an electrician. By the time he pulled up, the guy’s power had come back on; turns out he had just forgotten to pay his bill. So the electrician calls us back and says ‘I have to charge a trip charge, who is paying for this?’ Sometimes things can resolve themselves.”

Hales adds that sometimes, “It takes time for the board to make decisions; it might be until the next board meeting. Our policy is to get back to people within one business day is partially to set their expectations reasonably. We will respond saying, ‘Hey, we’ve forwarded this to the board and will be sure to inform you of their decision.’”


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Q&A: Getting the Cold Shoulder From the Board

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Handling Resident Complaints

Making Sure Every Voice Is Heard