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Homeowners Associations (HOA) and Condominium Dispute Resolution

Homeowners Associations (HOA) and Condominium Dispute Resolution

Date Posted: August 30, 2021 12:46 pm

HOA/Homeowners dispute mediator

Florida Statute 720.311 states that disputes among homeowners and homeowners’ associations are required to be mediated before either party can file for relief from a court. Torres Mediation helps both parties to reach a resolution outside of a courtroom through mediation.

Homeowners Association Conflicts

A homeowner may have purchased a house in a community managed by a residents’ association and discovered that, while they or the board may not always agree on everything, they have committed to follow the HOA’s regulations. The restrictions may appear ludicrous or irrational at times, but a homeowner must comply with them nonetheless. However, in some instances, a homeowner may file a lawsuit against an HOA in objection to a fine or request. Likewise, an HOA may file a lawsuit against the homeowner to enforce the covenants of the HOA.

This filing of lawsuits by either party can be expensive, complex and can damage relationships among neighbors. Participating in mediation is one approach to help keep a conflict out of court.

Mediation Saves Time, Saves Money and Saves Relationships.   Mediation is confidential and takes place in a safe environment with a neutral professional to facilitate the conversation.

Who writes the Rules?

The property developer often establishes the HOA and its regulations initially, although community members may join the organization and change the rules later. The Proclamation of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions generally outlines the community regulations (CC&Rs). Buyers will have the chance to review these regulations before purchasing their home within the community.

CC&Rs are often intended to preserve a community’s value, attractiveness.continuity.  Sometimes homeowners feel the restrictions are excessive, unreasonable or unfairly enforced.

Mediation for HOA/Homeowners disputes

Disputes against a Homeowners Association

The following is a list of issues that might lead to a disagreement with an HOA:

  • Changes to laws and regulations that are made without the homeowner’s knowledge or agreement.  Failure to provide adequate notice.
  • Failure to keep the communal landscape in good condition
  • Failure to keep common places in good condition
  • Violation of neighborly agreements
  • Property infringements caused by extensions, and decks
  • Noise like music or howling
  • Enforcing the relevant laws of the association; and
  • Views are being blocked

Claims Asserted Against Homeowners

The following list consists of frequent disputes against homeowners:

  • Nonpayment of dues or charges
  • Violations in house maintenance and landscaping
  • Parking restrictions
  • Regulations controlling land use and zoning
  • Types, sizes, and numbers of pets that are allowed
  • Unauthorized or nonconforming construction or improvements

Why engage Torres Mediation for HOA/Homeowners disputes?

In cases where internal dispute resolution mechanisms fail, or if no internal process is available, the next move may be to use an alternative dispute resolution method (ADR) like Torres mediation.  Before filing a lawsuit, the provisions of Florida Statute Chapter 720.311 requires the parties in the dispute are required to participate in mediation.

ADR permits both the HOA and the homeowner to settle a conflict outside of the courtroom through discussion, mediation, or arbitration. Torres mediation listens to both sides of the dispute as a neutral arbitrary and attempts to assist the parties in reaching a resolution agreeable to both sides.

The aggrieved party can list five certified mediators who would be acceptable for the other party to choose as a mediator.   Kim Torres, of Torres Mediation, is an experienced, patient and effective mediator for these types of homeowners’ disputes.  Call for the most current rates.

Role of HOA/Homeowners dispute mediator?

Mediation results can be significant for a variety of reasons.

  • The participants have a say, and the settlement becomes more meaningful and successful when all parties contribute to it
  • Litigation may be divisive, but mediation seeks to keep on-going relationships intact
  • Mediation promotes the free exchange of ideas to customize outcomes in a way that litigation does not
  • Mediation is quick, efficient, and less expensive than litigation.
HOA Dispute Mediation

The Results of Torres Mediation

Kim Torres is respected for ability to resolve conflicts in a professional and effective manner.  If the mediation is successful, the parties will walk away with a formal agreement or, a signed memorandum outlining what they and the other party have agreed upon. They also can make the settlement binding in court or keep it confidential.  Many individuals prefer to only petition a court to implement the settlement in the future if the other party fails to comply.

What If One Party Refuses Mediation?

If a party unreasonably declines mediation, the court may consider this denial when awarding legal costs to the victorious party. This action by the court is crucial because the victorious party in a CC&R enforcement action is entitled to reasonable attorney fees and expenses. However, if the victorious party refuses to mediate, the court has the authority to limit or refuse to pay fees to the prevailing party.

If mediation fails or one side refuses to engage, the party trying to enforce the CC&Rs may move to the next stage, either launching a lawsuit in court or requesting arbitration.

Contact Torres Mediation Services for Alternative Dispute Resolution in Florida for Assistance

Kindly inquire about complicated and multiparty mediations, which can take place anywhere in Florida. Call Torres Mediation at 321-821-9995 to help resolve HOA Disputes as efficiently as possible.