ARTICLE: Disruptive Property Owners
One of the unfortunate aspects of being part of your buildings management committee is that you may need to deal with a property owner or tenant who is argumentative, disruptive or even aggressive towards other property owners and the committee. In addition to constant disruption throughout the year, these individuals can also make your general meeting a nightmare and even result in other owners not wishing to attend.
In this article I discuss ways you can help with these disruptive owners.
Arm yourself with knowledge.
Make sure you have read the regulations and have a copy to hand at the meeting to ensure that you follow the requirements exactly and can answer any challenges you may receive from these owners and show them the physical wording of the law to back you up.
If you don’t already have a copy check out my book the Ultimate Committee Handbook (www.UltimateCommitteeHandbook.com) to help explain how to action these regulations in the real world, deal with difficult owners, answer common objections and increase owner participation at the meetings.
Use a third-party mediator
Arguments and heated meetings generally occur due to some previous history, maybe something that happened in the past that causes arguments to spark almost immediately.
Having a third party host your general meeting, and act as a mediator helps prevent this by having someone without this history and personal issues with particular owners take charge.
In addition to providing this service to my management clients, I also help committees across the island who self-manage by Hosting their AGM and assisting to make sure all requirements are followed and help mediate any discussions at the meeting. You can contact me through CyprusCommunalGuide.com if you need more info about the Done for you AGM services.
After these meetings I hear comments about how different these meetings are to their usual mayhem of a meeting. Or how I managed to stop a particular difficult individual from taking over the meeting.
I would love to take all the credit for this and say this is purely down to experience and skills in handling tense situations, there is something to be said by experience however the fact I don’t have any personal history with any of the owners, and don’t allow the meetings to dwell on these or past arguments is a major factor in this.
If you are the meeting president you are in charge of the meeting, so act like it.
Set some rules at the start of the meeting and enforce it.
These can include the conduct of attendees, how questions will be dealt with, cross conversations between owners during the meeting or talking during a presentation.
The key thing while taking charge is to let owners know at the outset that they will have their chance to speak, but at an appropriate time. I usually suggest a time limited Q&A after each presentation, and an AOB portion of the meeting where any attendee can request 5 minutes to stand up and address the meeting. Either ask questions, or simply make a statement.
When dealing with questions, do you best to answer them and if these are procedural or relating to a regulatory requirement have the regulations there to backup your statement. However, don’t fall into the trap of getting into an argument or debate. They ask a question, you answer it. If they are unhappy with the answer or it starts to resemble an argument, don’t debate further inform them their disagreement will be recorded then move on.
I like to say that a general meeting is a series of presentations not a series of debates.
Also make sure you don’t act with any bias. For example, If you are not taking questions during the presentation don’t make the mistake of refusing some owners while answering others.
Try to hold a general meeting where you can record/live stream the events of the meeting. It’s amazing how different an individual will be when they know there will be a record of their statements and behaviour. This also gives a record to refer to in addition to the minutes in the future if there are any disagreements over what was said or how the meeting was conducted.
You need to make sure that you put notices up that the meeting is being recorded and take measures to ensure that this recording is not taken, stored or shared in a way that breaches data regulations. I would suggest you check out my recent articles on record keeping and the GDPR Regulations at www.CyprusCommunalGuice.com
Looking for more?
If you are a member of your management committee, (or are looking to set one up) you will know that while the communal property regulations are comprehensive, they are sometimes a little difficult to understand and even once understood its not always easy to apply these generic regulations to your individual building with its specific challenges.
To help with this problem my most recent book the Ultimate Committee handbook gives you detailed and step by step instructions on every aspect of being on your committee and running your building. It explains the communal property law in simple terms including real world examples and instructions on how to best apply these regulations.
To get more information on this book, and view a book preview you can click the below link.
Unlock the true potential of your apartment building or resort with The Ultimate Committee Handbook.
The Cyprus Communal Guide
Helping you unlock your buildings true potential.