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Answer 3 Questions When Facing Ethical Dilemmas

Ethical choices are navigated by an internal compass that guides condo and homeowner association Board members in doing what’s right for their association. While many homeowners may not be aware of the ethical dilemmas that Board members face on a daily basis, resolving such problems goes with job. How you deal with issues when the lines are blurred says a lot about you, the Board and the association.

Many situations fall into a gray area where a right or wrong answer isn’t clear. If you find yourself facing such a dilemma, answering three questions can help you find the right path. It helps to think through all three questions because answering one may not provide quite enough guidance.

  1. Are there legal issues? (Will your decision violate a law or the association governing documents?)

  2. Is it fair? (Is it good for the community and majority of homeowners? Have you considered if it will be fair in both short and long-term?)

  3. Is it the right thing to do? (Based on current information, is this a decision that you can look back on and say that you would do the same again?)

It’s not difficult to recognize ethical dilemmas because they are the decisions that make you uncomfortable. For example, you turn a blind eye when a neighborhood friend doesn’t pay assessments, you have a conflict of interest in choosing a vendor or you violate a rule in the association’s governing documents. As a Board member, you “talk the talk” about what’s good for the community. It’s important that you lead by example and “walk the walk”.

Taking no action or making no decision can be a breach of ethics. When you consciously decide not to take action because the gray area is uncomfortable, that’s not putting the best interest of the community first. No decision is a decision! You have to get off the fence and do the right thing for the association.

Return to these three questions to help you walk the ethical path.


Wise Property Solutions is East Tennessee’s only Accredited Association Management Company (AAMC®). As the region’s leader in community association management, the firm is committed to the industry’s best practices and continuing professional development. Wise Property Solutions’ certified and highly trained property managers empower well-organized and efficient communities. The firm maintains offices in both Knoxville and the Tri-Cities.

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