Making enemies in a Condo Association is inevitable. Unfortunately, while they might be your enemy, they’re also your neighbor. Though you might be tempted to escalate the hostile activities, as a Condo Association Board member, that’s not really a great idea. The key to dealing with Condo Association enemies is to ensure that you are taking the high road and de-escalating the situation.
Never Engage One-on-One With an Enemy
First and foremost, never engage in a bilateral discussion with an enemy. These individuals may seek you out and attempt to address their grievance, particularly after an incident has occurred. Do not engage with them. If they corner you, you need to extract yourself. Consider the following comments to help set the tone:
The decision was a Board decision, made as a whole. I suggest you email us or attend a meeting to discuss it further.
My Board and personal time are separate. I would kindly request you bring this issue up at a Board meeting or via email to the Board as a whole.
The key point to get across is that you alone are not the Board as a whole, and it is not appropriate for them to engage you or put you on the spot.
Always Be Polite and Professional
No matter how nasty an enemy gets, always remain polite and professional. Do not engage in a back and forth, and do not respond to insults or threats. Also be wary if they take the approach of, “I know you’re a good Board member, but the rest of the Board seems like jerks.” Make sure that you don’t get lured in by attempts to sugar-talk you. There is always an agenda – likely for the Owner to attempt an appeal or an end-around.
Anything You Say Can and Will Be Used Against You
When an Owner seeks you out, they likely have one of two agendas – or both. One, they want to vent. Everyone loves venting, and Condo Board members get their share of it. Two, they want to appeal the decision or move their own agenda, so they’ll seek to get you to say something you shouldn’t. This could be to drive a wedge or sow dissent among Board members. For example, they might talk to you, get you to say something that takes their side, and then quote that in an email or follow-up to the Board, which puts you in a bad position. If they’re seeking legal action, they might run and tell their lawyer what you said. No matter what, keep in mind that every interaction is subject to being misquoted or misused.
Protect Yourself and Your Association
If you do have an interaction with someone who has had run-ins with the Association in the past, email your Board and Management as soon as you can and recap the conversation. It is important to put the marker down proactively and explain, in your words, how the interaction went. This helps get ahead of any potential issues so Board members aren’t surprised if the Owner in question brings up the interaction in the future. Dealing with Condo Association enemies isn’t a fun part of the job. But by following these tips, you can manage the interactions and lead a better Condo life.