When Residents Are Disruptive Tips for Keeping the Peace

Despite living in association, sometimes disputes erupt. Some residents just can’t be reasoned with. They’ll bother the board or other residents in various ways: noise at all hours, smells, maybe even just being a pest. No matter what it is, issues like these need to be dealt with before they become bigger (and more expensive) issues for boards and managers.

When Things Turn Ugly

“It can be one of a couple of things. My biggest issue is, for the most part, is just loud music, loud television, that’s one. Another one is typically couples that don’t get along, and so there’s loud voices and/or arguing. And then my third one is typically somebody might be doing something that involve either drinking or drugs, so people come into the building and somebody will be having a party that involves drinking, or somebody comes home and they’re smelling something like marijuana, or something like that,” says Joseph J. Balzamo, the president of Alliance Property Management in Morristown, New Jersey.

“Some of the common complaints I’ve gotten this week—for instance, a new resident moved in above a condominium I manage where they’re walking around at odd hours of the night, kind of stomping,” says Michael Foley, president of Boston Condominium Management in Boston, Massachusetts. “And the person who lived there before was a very quiet woman. She had rugs down, and the new person is a bigger person who walks around with boots or whatever and doesn’t put the rugs down. There are no specific condominium rules and regulations in the bylaws that prohibit [going rugless]—it’s only suggested.” 

And sometimes, the disruption moves beyond the condo walls. “We had a situation at a development in Chelsea. A guy was holding a sandwich sign in front of the building saying the management company is bad,” says Howard Goldman, an attorney and founding partner of the Needham, Massachusetts law firm of Goldman & Pease, LLC. “Then he crossed the line, and made some threatening remarks to the manager.” 

The association responded by going to court for a cease and desist order. But, Goldman noted, the board also invited the resident to attend a board meeting—with an off-duty police officer standing by—to discuss his complaint in a more respectful manner. 

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