Handling Misinformation in your HOA: Separating Fact from Fiction for Members
When an association member lies or shares information that just isn't true, it creates chaos and unrest for an HOA. Members often lie to stir up trouble or to save face from their own embarrassing mistakes. In certain situations, some members may believe their own lies. No matter what the reason, lies, and misinformation create unrest within an HOA. How boards approach such behavior is important for managing damage control and for keeping members happy and at-ease within the community.
Be Proactive vs. Reactive
Board members are volunteers with other commitments that also demand their attention. It's easy to take a rumor or lie personally. Even though you may want to react immediately, doing so often makes the situation worse.
Wait for your emotions to cool before responding to members. When you do address an association member, do so in a professional and respectful way. If you discover that a breakdown in communication is the root of the problem, then take steps to immediately improve how members receive information.
For those members spreading outright lies, it remains in your best interest to stay calm. Losing your temper will only make the situation worse and might validate the liar's case.
Association board members must stop misinformation by communicating the correct information immediately. No response reflects apathy on behalf of the community's leadership—the board. Addressing misinformation may involve a one-on-one meeting with the individual spreading the lies or by hosting a community meeting.
Communicating board awareness of the issue and actions to address it is important for separating fact from fiction. A person may continue to lie or to spread misinformation, however, if a board addresses their actions immediately, other members are less likely to believe them going forward.
Keeping good records is essential for situations involving misinformation. Detailing actions and responses is a board's best defense against further accusations. Should a member ever question a board's response to a rumor or lie, the board has documentation proving the what, when, and how of their response.
There are some association members who will continue to stir the pot and cause trouble. When they choose to alarm other members with lies and rumors, all in an effort to save face, a board must step forward, take action, and document their response.
A professional property management company provides important peace-of-mind for HOA/Condo boards. A lie, rumor, or misinformation can do a world of damage to the morale and reputation of your association. At RealManage, our professional team can help guide your board through this and other trying times.
As volunteers, you do your best in addition to balancing other responsibilities. Proper property management can ease the load and help you feel engaged rather than burned out.
Learn more about us and how we can help your board by contacting us. We provide a free HOA management assessment. Let us lighten your load by providing strategies that increase community engagement. Our three key approach to HOA management includes communication, transparency, and support.
If your HOA or condo association is in need of professional property management guidance, reach out to us today. An association board position shouldn't stress you out but rather motivate you to make the right decisions for your community. We can help. By working together, your community will thrive beyond the rumors and lies started by one homeowner. At RealManage, we look forward to providing you with your free HOA management assessment. Let's get started—contact us today!