Exterior view of multifamily residential building; NYC
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Co-op and condo associations like HOAs are formed to better the community they serve. While associations like these can do plenty of good, the individuals they impact often have differing views about the policies they set and how they choose to allocate funds. As a result, it’s common for conflicts to arise among chair members and between the association and those impacted by it.  

Being aware of some of the most common sources of conflict in these associations can help reduce tensions and keep business operating smoothly.

Common Reasons for Co-op and Condo Conflicts

A housing cooperative or condominium association serves as the entity that sets shared rules for a living community. The exact responsibilities can vary widely among these sorts of organizations. In many cases, they’re also responsible for identifying shared costs and managing the fees and dues paid by residents. 

Between setting and enforcing policies and making financial decisions, it’s normal for conflict to occasionally arise — especially when some individuals disagree strongly with the organization’s decisions. However, certain areas tend to result in conflict more frequently than others. 


The policies set by a condominium or cooperative association can have a significant impact on residents’ quality of life and sense of autonomy. These organizations often set policies regarding topics like: 

  • Outside decor
  • Renovations
  • Pet ownership
  • Parking 
  • Noise
  • Rules for renting
  • Occupancy limits

The policies an HOA or similar organization sets often lead to conflict among residents. 

Rule Enforcement

While revising existing rules or enacting new ones is often a source of conflict, long-standing rules can also cause tensions to run high — especially when not everyone respects them. 

Once a condo or co-op association enacts rules, those rules must be enforced. This can be a challenging process, as board members are often residents themselves who don’t receive compensation for the work they do for the community.

When certain members of a community break organizational rules, it can cause tensions to run high. Similarly, if rule enforcement is sporadic or inconsistent, it can easily lead to anger and resentment.

Fund Allocation

Co-ops and condo associations are often charged with identifying repairs and improvements that impact the entire community. While board members should strive for fairness in deciding which jobs to prioritize, fund allocation can be a hot-button topic that often leads to high levels of conflict.

Fees and Dues

The costs that accompany a co-op or condo association are often considerable. Board members have the responsibility of making financial decisions across a wide number of topics. The money for things like maintenance costs, garbage collection, and beautification projects all comes from membership fees or dues. 

In some cases, repair projects like replacing the condominium roof are shared costs that members must help pay for. When individuals disagree about whether projects are necessary or what sort of budget should be set for a given job, conflict is often the result.

Call a NYC County Real Estate Litigation Lawyer Today

No one likes having to navigate conflict with a residential organization. However, general conflicts often escalate to the point at which they become legal issues. 

There are limits to the rules organizations can set upon residents, and residents who choose to live in a community with a governing association face consequences when they refuse to respect the rules. 

A real estate litigation attorney can help you find a path forward when a conflict involving a residential organization goes too far. Disputes like these can often be settled with limited expense by allowing a skilled attorney to guide you through the mediation process. 

Levy Goldenberg LLP is a real estate litigation attorney serving clients throughout New York. Call us today to schedule a consultation and learn how our firm can help with your dispute.