Unfortunately, some communities have curmudgeons, bad tempered, difficult and sometimes cantankerous people who treat the board, managers and even residents with disrespect. These individuals believe they are always right and that they can do a better job than those in charge.

These types of people will continue to exist, NO MATTER WHAT, but if you identify them and attempt to communicate taking steps to ensure they don’t adversely affect operations the association will be OK. Some of these people could even become valuable, beneficial community members…..REALLY!

The main trait of a curmudgeon is the belief that they know how to operate the association best and that the board or manager is incompetent. They often attend board meetings simply to complain and criticize. Rarely do they have truly constructive feedback or praise.

When dealing with curmudgeons, it’s important to remember the old saying, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”. It’s important to establish a line of communication with them; it will help to disprove the notion that the association isn’t being operated properly.

The best way to engage a curmudgeon is to do it in private, where they are not distracted with putting on a show or proving they are right regardless of the facts. As a manager we invite these people to meet with us in our office, most often they are no shows but when they do show up it's best to listen then to provide a firm and factual response.

These people are one of the main reasons that boards need to establish time limits for owners that want to speak at board meetings, setting clear rules as to how long  each person’s comments must be and being careful not to start a dialog with the curmudgeon, board responses’ should only be made after the curmudgeon in done speaking.

It’s unfortunate when associations are confronted with curmudgeons, and it may seem like you’re stuck, but you’re not. There are tools to deal with them and when you take control and do not allow them to turn meetings and the association into a negative non-productive experience everyone will benefit.

To be sure sometimes these individual have reverent comments and complaints, but these easily become nothing more than background noise as they constantly complain about anything and everything. Make sure that you use your communication skills to let the rest of the owners know that you are addressing all relevant concerns and that you welcome constructive questions and ideas but that operations must move forward.

Sooner or later the curmudgeon will either give up or become irreverent.