The biggest benefit of self-management is the money your association saves by not having a management company. Is it worth it? Most would say no. The time burden on volunteer trustees, the potential for theft and the potential for accusations of theft are the most common deterrents. But what about your individual safety?
When an association is self-managed it is up to the board to enforce policies pertaining to delinquent collections and property violations. There’s no way around creating some bad blood in enforcing these policies. Most don’t escalate to quite the level as this unfortunate situation, but it’s certainly a possibility depending upon how negative the situation becomes and how unstable neighbors may be.
As a trustee there is no avoiding some level of hostility when policies adversely affecting neighbors are enforced, but having a community association manager signing off on liens, violation notices and other documents can help defer some bad blood and create a buffer for the trustees. The anger and impulsiveness many are willing to demonstrate from their front porches becomes a lot less dangerous when it’s in the form of a phone call or email to the manager, and most will come to their senses by the time an in-person meeting occurs when needed.
A manager signing off on the lien in this case instead of the HOA’s president may not have helped this situation, especially considering there was already a history. But it certainly could have cut down on the possibility, and with a manager to execute the decisions of the board the individual trustees can focus more on important decision-making and less on the day-to-day situations like this one.