Opinions on issues can divide your homeowners association (HOA) Board into two camps that can’t reach a compromise. No matter what one camp says, the other camp won’t go along with it.  Any management group can be divided on a specific topic occasionally. But, if your Board frequently separates into two opposing camps, you have a longer-term problem.

A tie vote can signify a divided board or that the issue that needs further discussion. When bylaws require a majority vote before a decision can be made, a tie is not an option. Here are a few ways you can deal with a tie:

  • Discuss the issue, covering all aspects of how it will impact the community as a whole. Use good dispute resolution methods to ensure that each member has a say.
  • Modify the motion to resolve the tie. Sometimes, it’s just a couple of words that cause the objection.
  • Delay voting to the next meeting if you need to gather additional data or to allow time for reflection.
  • The board chair has the option to break a tie. The chair can either vote or abstain from voting.
  • Allow the issue to die because you didn’t have a majority vote.
  • If it’s an officer election, choose different candidate(s).
  • If you have a previous Board member who has resigned recently, you could ask him/her to return short-term.

If your Board frequently finds itself in deadlock, changes are needed to resolve the problem long-term. Look at the structural element of your Board’s configuration.  For example, you may have an even number of Board members or a small Board. Think about amending the bylaws to change the configuration of your Board to reduce the potential of deadlocks.

Underlying issues can divide an HOA Board, and you need to get to the bottom of it.  Start by educating Board members about their responsibilities and making the best choices for the entire community. This is the time to discuss independent decision-making and focus on association needs rather than individual agendas.

Another good approach is to go through a policy governance exercise. Start with setting or reviewing the mission and values of the community. When you get agreement on those, policies should cascade from there. This can help you build consensus in your Board.

Being open to compromise and discussion is critical when the board is deadlocked. When all else fails, you may have to rein in your fellow Board members. If someone is being difficult just because he/she has an issue, it’s up to the rest of the Board members to speak up so the issue can be resolved.


Wise Property Solutions is a property management company serving East Tennessee (including: KINGSPORT, TN | JOHNSON CITY, TN | BRISTOL, TN | ELIZABETHTON, TN | ERWIN, TN | BRISTOL, VA | KNOXVILLE, TN)  with offices in Knoxville, TN and the Tri-Cities, TN. Specializing in Condominium Association Management, Home Owners Association Management, HOA Management and Gated Community Association Management.  The firm is East Tennessee’s only Accredited Association Management Company (AAMC®).   


Knoxville, TN: 865-643-8989

Tri-Cities, TN: 423-926-7373

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