|Respond in writing. Acknowledge receipt of
the letter. If the complaint is based on a misunderstanding or on false
information, explain. (“Fluffy was with me at the cottage during the
week in question. Hence the barking must have come from another unit.”)
If the complaint is legitimate, explain how you will address it. (“In
the future, I will limit my trumpet playing to between the hours of 4
and 5 p.m.”)
|Respond promptly, but if the letter has
upset you (“How dare anyone object to my holiday decorations!”) wait
until you have relaxed enough to write a calm letter. If you have a
friend whom you feel has good judgment, ask him or her to read over the
letter before you send it.
|If you have a conversation with the
manager or a board member about the contents of the letter, document
this as well. Soon after the conversation, summarize the main points in
writing and send it to the person you spoke with. Ask if he or she has
anything to add or notices any errors or misunderstandings.
|Maintain a paper trail. Keep copies of
letters and emails about the issue. If the matter goes further – say to
arbitration – it is important to have some record of communication.
Memories fade and managers can be moved to other properties. Above all,
you will want to be able to show an arbitrator or judge that you acted
responsibly and took reasonable steps to resolve the conflict.
|Get legal advice, especially if the matter
does not seem resolved with your written reply to the initial letter.
It is important to seek advice from a lawyer who has experience with
condominium matters. Don’t ask your cousin the criminal lawyer or one
of the in-house lawyers at your workplace. Paying for good advice early
in the process might save you a lot of money later on, should the
conflict not resolve easily.