Handling Community Conflict at HOA Meetings

It’s inevitable that some communities have a bully who attends board meetings in an effort to push their own agenda, belittle other members’ proposals, or even make others feel uncomfortable with their aggressive behavior. Sometimes it may be a homeowner; other times, it may actually be a fellow board member! So, what can you do to peacefully and proactively handle the neighborhood bully so the rest of the community can feel at ease and have their voices heard?


Concerning Behavior

The first step in handling community bullies is to identify the bully. Sometimes it’s obvious by their critical behavior, belittling others, attempting to take over the HOA meeting, or use of foul language. Other times their tactics are more subtle. The bully could use guilt to play the victim in order to get their way.

Anyone who treats others with cruelty or uses aggression can be considered a bully. If you find a bully in your midst, there are a few ways that can diffuse the situation. Try these tactics:

Talk Privately in Person

There could be a situation where the bully doesn’t even realize their actions can be hurtful or annoying. They may have no clue that others consider them a bully! That’s why it’s always best to discuss the issue face-to-face in a private setting. A quick conversation could end a misunderstanding before it gets out of hand.

While it could be intimidating to talk to the perceived bully in person, and you might want to send a quick text or email instead. It’s important to remember that the likelihood of miscommunication is much less probable during a face-to-face conversation. When communicating in person, the bully can understand your tone as well as the dialogue, hopefully leading to a quick understanding.

Leave Opinions at the Door

If a quick in-person conversation doesn’t do the trick, rely on facts rather than opinion. Sometimes bullies can derail an HOA meeting. Being prepared with facts can get the meeting back on track, ultimately allowing you to push forward on the meeting agenda and become effective and efficient HOA members.

Using facts in discussions also builds the trust of your colleagues and meeting attendees. Using data and statistics is always more convincing than personal opinions.

Dismiss the Bully From the Board

The ideas above are best used when a community member gets out of line and causes concern for others. But what if the bully is on the board? Most HOA rules and bylaws give power to the board to oust an HOA member if they are not acting appropriately and in the best interest of the community. This can typically be done by a simple vote.


It’s very probable that everyone wants peace and harmony within the community. If a simple, calm, and respectful conversation doesn’t remedy the issue and facts still seem to be overlooked, then you may want to consult with your HOA management company or even your association’s legal counsel.
Visit Spectrum Association Management for more tips about Better HOA Management.
We also offer online HOA Board Member certification courses, here.