These orders are designed to be obtainable by lay people, and information and forms are available online. If a board member or manager obtains a protection order, be sure to provide an alternative way for the resident against whom the order is entered to communicate with the association, including through counsel.

Difficult Personalities

Often one or more of the individuals involved in a neighbor-to-neighbor dispute will have

an aggressive or abrasive personality. Though it is challenging, be sure not to take the statements of these individuals personally. And be sure to make decisions that are not grounded on a dislike of, frustration with, or desire to punish this individual. Keep the focus on ensuring that the association takes the proper steps during the enforcement process rather than engaging with the individual emotionally.

Anticipatory Steps

There are a number of things an association can do to prepare itself for potential neighbor-to-neighbor disputes. This can include updating your compliance policy and fine schedule, including adopting higher fines for more egregious behavior, clarifying timing between fines for

continuing violation, and reducing complexity. This can also include adopting policies that target common neighbor-to- neighbor issues such as parking and hard-surface flooring installations. Also be sure ahead of time that any notice templates comply with the community’s enforcement procedures and avoid aggressive language that may escalate disputes.


The association should take some action even if a dispute does not appear to involve more than two neighbors. That action may be limited to a formal denial of pursuing a complaint after investigation. Be sure to comply with compliance procedures, but also think about practical solutions and discuss them with the involved parties. Be mindful of fair housing, harassment claims, and mental health considerations. Keep expenses and the ability to charge back in mind when determining a plan of action. Rely on qualified professionals and third parties as appropriate. Be prepared ahead of time with updated, enforceable documents. Finally, be patient—these kinds of situations do not typically sort themselves out in a few days. But also be sure not to delay, as delay can create its own set of issues. And remember that these types of situations are relatively common among all communities, and there are procedures and options available to help resolve them.

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