Dealing with Difficult People

May 2022

In every community there are individuals who believe being loudest is effective at getting what they want.  For them it is all about intimidation, and those who are angry or disgruntled seem to be loudest.  These people fail to respect rules, regulations or individuals.  They can make life unpleasant for an entire community.

There will always be some who feel rules don’t apply and may encourage others to ignore them.

While this is nothing new, condo governance has an easy way to deal with it.  Community living revolves around rules, regulations and respect for others.  The goal is to offer an enjoyable lifestyle to all.

Before dealing with any situation concerning a difficult individual, obtain as much information as possible by speaking with all involved.  Know what your governing documents say about the matter you seek to address.  Never allow a difficult individual to control your actions or dictate how to proceed.  Be tough but never difficult or demeaning.

After information and facts are obtained, its time to deal with the situation.  Residents should approach management when any matter relates to condo rules or bylaws.  It is best to put concerns in writing, clearly identifying relevant rules or bylaws, and requesting a specific resolution.

Matters can be more difficult to address when dealing with someone in a position of power.  A difficult director may try to control the board and force other directors to yield to their position.  They may give preferential treatment to some residents even at the risk of exposing the corporation to liability.  As with resident-to-resident concerns, the best way to deal with a difficult board member is to put concerns in writing with a focus on current condo rules and regulations being abused.  This provides other board members with an opportunity to deal with the situation.  They could, for example, demote a president by a majority vote thereby curbing their authority and ending certain abuses.

Bad behaviour, if allowed to continue, is unlikely to go away on its own.  While resolving problems in an amicable manner is desirable, failing to resolve them can lead to greater abuses.

Indicators of difficult people

Difficult people can often be singled out by their comments which, in a condo community, may include verbal threats or demands made to residents, directors or management:

  • Calling their lawyer and/or suing you and the corporation
  • Threating to make things difficult and possible violence
  • Not paying condo fees because maintenance or service is poor
  • Doing as they please regardless of rules and daring you to call police or register a complaint
  • Claiming the corporation has no authority to enforce certain rules or regulations
  • Demanding to receive copies of every corporation document over many years