Kondo Kombat: Managing Conflict in Your Condo Community

Maybe it’s the garbage that somehow makes its way out to the dumpster but simply cannot seem to find its way inside of the dumpster. Maybe it’s one too many hair-metal power ballads heard drifting up through the floorboards late at night. Or maybe it’s the fact that Mr. Tiny, the chihuahua that lives in 2B, absolutely will not be persuaded to stop leaving “presents” all around the condo complex for people to come across when they least expect it.

Whatever the reason or inciting offense might be, the fact is that condo life can be tough, and living in such close proximity to so many other people means that conflicts, clashes and confrontations are bound to happen – and that’s okay! It’s to be expected. What really matters is how they’re handled – both by the parties directly involved in the dispute, of course, but also by the community’s condo management company and how they respond to and mediate the matter. Not sure what a successful dispute resolution should look like? Read on for more.

Managing Disputes Like a Professional

This is the biggest, most important piece of advice we can give to your Edmonton condo management company: keep things professional. Condo management is, after all, a business – and it sure wouldn’t do a business team any favours to go storming into a client meeting yelling angrily at everyone in the boardroom before throwing up their hands in frustration and stomping out! With this in mind, it’s important to approach condo disputes with the same dispassionate mindset that one might approach a bank transaction or a legal agreement: that is, calm and collected.

Take some time to step back from the dispute and allow emotion to remove itself from the conversation. Give cooler heads a moment to prevail before digging into the meat of the argument. 24 hours is often a good period of time to allow things to settle down –people can sleep on things, collect themselves, and approach the conflict from a much more level-headed position than they might otherwise.

Typical Problems and Issues

In order to prepare for an eventual dispute that might arise within your condo community, it’s worth having some information about the sorts of arguments and confrontations that generally arise in these sorts of situations. Luckily, when it comes to condo management dispute resolution in Edmonton, there aren’t many curveballs that typically get thrown our way. More often than not, these are the sorts of issues we end up addressing on a regular basis:

  • Rules or guidelines being broken. This sort of dispute is precisely what it sounds like: one condo owner is mad at another because of an infraction (real or perceived) regarding anything from bike storage to noise concerns to pet problems and on and on. The key to solving this sort of issue is to actually collect some data to cut through all the he-said/she-said. If there’s no real data to be had, the next step is still the same: refer to the contract (which is king in these matters!) in order to address the questions of responsibility, accountability, and expectation.
  • Concerns about past resolutions. This sort of conflict is one that actually arises fairly frequently. Oftentimes, you’ll think a concern or dispute has been wrapped up and put to bed, only to be approached by an owner weeks (or even months!) later complaining that they are unsatisfied with how things were handled. Similar to our previous issue, the steps to take here involve first data collection, followed by a quick check-in with the almighty contract in order to inform accountability. This issue actually typically goes hand-in-hand with our next conflict-type, which revolves around…
  • Communication breakdown. This is a different sort of issue in that it oftentimes isn’t necessarily reflective of a real problem so much as a hiccup somewhere else along the line. The first step here is to identify why the communication breakdown happened and where it came from. Was it a human error? Technological glitch? Process problem? From there, a solution can easily be found that should not only solve the issue, but also strengthen and reinforce the way communication is handled within your condo community going forward.

It’s Worth Repeating: Keep Things Professional!

We get it. This stuff can be frustrating. This is your home, after all! You want it to be a place where you find comfort, solace, and peace – not somewhere that you’re having to constantly bicker and feud with neighbours over silly, petty nuisances. With this in mind, we’ll insist that once again, the most important takeaway from all of this is to keep things professional – before, during, and particularly after mediation. As an Edmonton condo management company, we’re always going to do everything we can to address issues, conflicts, and complaints as completely and fairly as we can. That said, once the problem has been worked through and a resolution has been reached, it’s the responsibility of all involved to accept the results of that arbitration and to move forward.

This is important for a number of reasons, including ongoing harmony within the condo community and just as crucially, the upkeep of a positive working relationship between the condo community/board and the condo management team. While it might be easy for a board or condo community to say, “Oh, we don’t like how condo management handled that particular conflict, let’s just find a new company,” this is a course of action that should only be explored following a lot of thought and reflection.

Condo management companies make so many critical decisions – financial and otherwise – on behalf of boards and communities that rotating through new management every year or two can have a direct negative impact on the community itself. That familiarity and unique experience a condo management company gains through years of working with the same board and community is an enormous asset that can only be forged through time spent working together. Breaking up with your condo company is no easy feat – particularly if you want to do so properly – and further to the point, if your board finds itself rotating through condo management companies on a regular basis, it might be worth reflecting internally for a moment to try and explore why building lasting working relationships seems to be an ongoing problem.

Condo conflict resolution can be a touchy subject to work through, but don’t feel like you have to go it alone. Get in touch with us at Catalyst Condo Management Ltd today, and we’ll be happy to walk you through your condominium clash. Disputes happen, but so long as you play your cards right, your condo community will be sure to come out all the stronger as a result.