Homeowners can sue their Homeowners’ Association (HOA) over various issues. Considering that HOAs are often diverse, and because of that, not everyone will get along or agree on every topic every time.
HOA board members must have an effective strategy to confront these disagreements, which will likely arise occasionally. Members will want their rights to be protected and considered at HOA meetings or via letters to the board.
Dispute resolution policy
A frequent and effective strategy for HOAs is to have a dispute resolution policy in their governing documents. This ensures that everyone is aware of what the procedure is for solving disputes. It also allows for a more streamlined process for the HOA and its members.
Within the dispute resolution policy, mediation is an option for solving disputes. Litigation can be costly and time-consuming and take away resources that would be otherwise better spent on other priorities, especially those involving the entire community.
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that is highly effective at solving problems. It is so effective that courts require it as part of their processes before the parties reach trial.
However, HOAs and homeowners can use mediation as a standalone method of conflict resolution, too. The parties can hire a neutral third party (mediator) to solve the issues between the homeowner and the HOA.
The mediator is bound to comply with rules of ethics, impartiality and confidentiality. Mediation is a private process that allows the parties to bring their issues to the table and hopefully find a solution that considers both parties’ interests.
Mediation has many other benefits. It is cost-effective and faster in solving disputes, and it is a non-adversarial way of solving conflict. This is a good option for HOA disputes because the mediator does not make decisions. They facilitate a conversation between the parties and provide a structured discussion.
Disputes between homeowners and HOAs are inevitable. How we manage those disputes is up to us. It could be beneficial to consult with those who can assist you in considering implementing a dispute resolution policy and mediation as part of that policy.