Christmas brings a whole host of problems to HOA managers. Parking becomes more difficult, there are more noise complaints, crime increases, and there’s always someone who breaks HOA rules and regulations with their excessive decorating. However, the festive period can be enjoyed and celebrated without any complaints, or law suits, being filed. The key to reducing problems and making sure that residents and management have a happy HOA Christmas is communication, communication, communication! Luckily that’s the core of Vinteum Neigbrs so we’re here to help. Here are five ideas to reduce holiday stress and make sure everyone has Happy HOA Holidays:
1. Decorations: There is a big difference between a few fairy lights and a nativity scene with real sheep. While it is inadvisable to completely ban decorations, it’s a good idea to impose a few basic rules. Until what time can residents leave their lights on? A simple rule is to switch them off at 10pm to not disturb anyone. Should the HOA allow lights on fences, roofs, balconies? How should they be attached? What about lights that flash or have sound? How much decoration is allowed, should there be a limit? How long can decorations be left up for? A basic rule is from the day after Thanksgiving until the second week of January. It’s a good idea to send a reminder with your HOA restrictions just after Thanksgiving. Vinteum’s Neigbrs allows managers to send messages to all residents at once so you can easily send out that reminder. You can even write it earlier and schedule it to be sent off the day after Thanksgiving when everyone is still digesting their turkey.
2. Noise: Christmas brings extra noise to HOAs with Christmas parties and general merriment everywhere. This could lead to an increase in noise complaints, which are always difficult to deal with. They can get ugly if someone calls the police on their neighbor. The best thing to do is to send out a reminder before Thanksgiving with the HOA rules on noise. With noise it’s better to send that reminder early so that residents aren’t bombarded with too much information, and so they bear it in mind during Thanksgiving. You can upload the documents onto Vinteum Neigbrs platform and notify residents all in one place. This way you son’t waste paper printing out the rules to put in everyone’s mailboxes.
3. Parking: Parking can become nasty during the holiday season. If your HOA has dedicated parking for residents, remind everyone (politely!) to park their sleigh in their assigned space. Be clear about where guests parking is if you have designated parking for them. That way you don’t have todeal with an angry call when someone finds their driveway blocked. Try to up parking checks around the HOA and enforce the rules. Again, communicate that you will be doing this with your residents so that they’re not caught by surprise by any tightened regulations, and remind them that you’re working for their safety and peace of mind.
4. Parcels: Everyone has a lot of parcels being delivered during the holiday season and thieves know this so it’s important to stay on top of what they’ve ordered and when it’s going to arrive. The HOA shouldn’t accept responsibility for parcels unless there’s a system to receive packages already set up. But you can help your residents to avoid their presents being stolen. Encourage residents to have their presents delivered to work or to a neighbor’s house if they know they’re not going to be in. They can also leave a note for the delivery man who normally do place (or throw, so be careful) parcels behind a gate or shrub if they’re asked to. Finally, remind residents that they can track packages so they shouldn’t be caught by surprise. Carriers often send texts to remind people that their parcels are out for delivery. A novel way to keep an eye on your home when you’re out at work, on holiday, or if you’re just waiting for a delivery is Ring. This is a start-up that creates alarms that detect motion around your home and send a notification to the app on your phone. On your app you use the alarm’s in-built video to see who is at your door, and you can speak to them even if you’re not at home. This is very useful coming up to Christmas when a lot of people have parcels arriving, and also when many residents are away over the holiday period.
5. Going away: A lot of residents go away during the holiday period to visit friends and family. Empty houses attract thieves, so do encourage residents to communicate to their neighbors when they’re going away so that someone can keep an eye on their house. On Vinteum Neigbrs residents can send each other, and the management, private messages. Another good idea is to ask people to give their key to someone they trust so they can keep an eye on the plants, mail and also look out for any leaks, or to be able to get in in case of an emergency (frozen pipes, fire, suspected gas leaks etc). Amazon Key allows people to give recurring access or one-off access to their homes, so no-one ever has to worry about who has their key. So if a resident has a regular cleaner or housekeeper they can have recurring access, but a delivery man could be supplied with a code that would only work once. Finally, for all pet parents, Rover is a great site to find reliable and trustworthy people to home and dog or catsit. You can choose if you want someone there all the time, or just to pop by once to give your pet food, water, some cuddles and a walk.
With these simple steps your HOA can have a stress-free and enjoyable holiday period. Make sure that the rules around decorations are based on good justifications and reasonable grounds in case anyone does try to challenge them. Health and safety should always be the first consideration when creating regulations. If the HOA association communicates its rules with its residents in advance then no problems should arise.
Find out more about how Vinteum Neigbrs can help you manage your condo or HOA smoothly. Contact us here, we’re always happy to help out.