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Posted on June 22, 2020 1:19 PM by Melissa Gentry
Categories: Homeowner Articles
Techniques To Use That Get Results When You Have A Complaint or Question 
 
Our Board of Directors and management company welcome constructive complaints because they help them do a better job. Results-oriented complaints usually can be settled in the initial stage and the result will be fewer complaints in the future. Your board and management are responsible for enforcing the association documents uniformly and fairly.  Here are some techniques to follow to ensure results:
 
- Keep the tone polite and professional. Try not to get angry or emotional.
- Do NOT use profanity.  
- Avoid using threats. Threats diminish productive communication. If you push others they may respond emotionally and the issue will be lost in the process.
- State what you want done.
- Listen and ask questions.
- You may want to negotiate. Be ready to suggest alternative solutions.
- Understand the board or management may not be able to accommodate your request for legal reasons.
- Don't expect exceptions to rules.  
- If there is an agreement, confirm it. Make a written note to yourself. If the problem is complex or money is involved, confirm the agreement by letter.
- If you cannot agree on a solution stay calm. Do some more research. But remain calm.
 
  We are here to help!
Posted on June 8, 2020 2:36 PM by Melissa Gentry
Categories: Homeowner Articles
With our current self isolation circumstances many associations have moved to holding online meetings to continue running association business.  The online meetings have resulted in increased attendance to board meetings.  Many owners who have been unable to attend board meetings in the past are now logging on to see and hear association business.  We welcome you!
 
If you've never attended a Board of Directors meeting then you are not taking advantage of your right to observe the decision-making process that protects, preserves and enhances your community's assets.  There are also rules that need to be followed during a board meeting. 
 
Most of the business decisions made at a board meeting have a direct impact on the property values of our community. Decisions regarding association maintenance items are the most common. Some decisions have an indirect effect, such as decisions regarding rules and regulations and financial operations. But whether they effect property values directly or indirectly they all have some impact on our community and as a member of the community, they impact you.
 
Board Meeting Basics
 
1. The Board meeting is a meeting of the Directors of the Corporation.
2. As homeowners, you have a vested interest in your community, and you elected the Board members to take care of those interests.
3. Business matters come before the Board when a motion is made, and seconded. Each motion has a discussion period before a vote is taken. This discussion is to take place only between the Board members (and with management, if needed).
4. When a vote on a motion is taken, it is voted on by the Board members only.
5. If you would like an item to be considered by the Board to be on a future agenda for a decision, please submit your request or suggestion in writing at least three days before the next meeting
 
Board Meeting Phases
 
There are three different phases of a Board meeting.
 
The Business Meeting, at which the board discusses and makes decisions based on a pre-established meeting agenda. Homeowners can attend the Business Meeting, but they are not allowed to speak to the Board during this portion of the Board meeting. Homeowners are encouraged to attend to observe only. 
 
The Homeowners Open Forum, where homeowners can address the Board with your ideas, comments and/or suggestions pertaining to our community.  Although Board Meetings are in place to conduct the business of the Association, the Board would love to hear from you. During the Homeowners Open Forum, homeowners are permitted to address the Board for a limited time period. An important point to remember is that although important issues may be brought to the Boards attention during Open Forum, do not expect the Board to act on these issues at this time. Many issues are turned over to management for research and to determine the options available for dealing with the issues. The more prepared the Board is before making a decision, the better the decision will be.
 
The Executive Session, which is conducted without homeowners present in order to discuss issues related to legal issues, personnel issues and/or non-compliance hearings.  Homeowners are not allowed to attend the Executive Session. Sensitive legal, personnel and/or hearing issues are dealt with during Executive Session.
 
A strong community is built on a strong foundation of participation.  We hope to see you at the next meeting! 
Posted on May 8, 2020 1:56 PM by Melissa Gentry
Categories: Homeowner Articles
We all have expectations about everything in our life. We expect our family, friends and neighbors to behave in certain ways and when they don’t, we often fall into a state of anger. We expect that we can leave the house when we want to.  Get our hair cut when we want to.  Go out to dinner when we want to.  Our expectations are not just limited to those people who we know, but also to just about everyone we come in contact with or depend upon. We expect our leaders to make decisions that we believe to be right. When they fail to meet those expectations we get angry.
 
Often, what we expect of others is a reflection of what we ultimately expect of ourselves. When I am in a hurry I expect others to respect that and get going. When I am frustrated I expect others to understand that and make everything right. When I am overworked I expect others to sympathize with me and help out. When others don’t behave according to our expectations, we get angry. Learning to be gentler with our selves goes a long way towards being gentler towards others.
 
Anger makes us more aggressive and limits the way we think about and treat others including friends, family and neighbors. Anger is usually one-pointed: outward towards someone else. In the act of being angry, instead of feeling closer to the object of our anger, we create even greater distance. We isolate them, but more importantly, we isolate ourselves. In this time of isolation we need these relationships more than ever.
 
One of the keys to avoiding anger is to transform our habit of expectations. This does not mean that we allow people to run all over us, or our community. It means I transform what I expect of others into an understanding that no one can read each other’s mind and their reasons for doing what they do usually have nothing to do with me. My neighbor doesn’t let his dog poop on my lawn to make me angry, he does so because he hasn’t read or understood our community’s rules.
 
Transforming our expectations into a greater understanding of other people’s challenges and sufferings will do quite a bit to disarm our anger and increase our own happiness. We all can just get along. The key? Communication. It’s often the best way to prevent and resolve conflict before it reaches the legal system. You don’t have to be friends or spend time together to achieve a peaceful coexistence, but you should try to be a good neighbor and follow these tips:
 
Say hello. At the mailbox, while walking the dog or when you see a moving van arrive, introduce yourself. Learn your neighbors’ names and regularly offer a friendly greeting.
 
Provide a heads up. If you’re planning a construction project, altering your landscaping (after submitting an ACC request), contact your neighbors beforehand.
 
Do unto others. Treat neighbors as you would like to be treated. Be considerate about noise from vehicles, stereos, pets, etc.
 
Know your differences. Make an effort to understand each other. Differences in age, ethnic background and years in the neighborhood can lead to different expectations or misunderstandings.
 
Consider the view. Keep areas of your property that others can see presentable.
 
Appreciate them. If the neighbors do something you like, let them know. They’ll be pleased you noticed, and it’ll be easier to talk later if they do something you don’t like.
 
Stay positive. Most people don't try to create problems. If a neighbor does something that irritates you, don’t assume it was deliberate.
 
Talk honestly. Tolerance is important, but don’t let a real irritation go because it seems unimportant or hard to discuss. Let your neighbors know if something they do annoys.
 
Be respectful. Talk directly to your neighbors if there’s a problem. Gossiping with others can damage relationships and create trouble.
 
Remain calm. If a neighbor mentions a problem they have with you, thank them for the input. You don’t have to agree or justify any behavior. Wait for any anger to subside before responding.
 
Listen carefully. When discussing a problem, try to understand your neighbor’s position and why he or she feels that way.
 
Take your time. Take a break to think about what you and your neighbor have discussed. Arrange to finish the conversation at another time.
 
Effective communication can only occur when there is a process of two-way listening. Anger prevents us from honestly listening to anything but our anger. When we transform our expectations and reduce our opportunities to get angry, we put ourselves in a position to make better choices about how we relate to the people around us and, in turn, how they relate to us. When everyone works together, anything is possible!
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