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How Your HOA Attorney Resolves Legal Disputes within Your Community

Legal disputes within an HOA can be disruptive, to say the least. At worst, they can lead to expensive litigation and drain the association’s resources. It’s generally in the best interest of all parties to resolve disputes as quickly and amicably as possible. 

A community law attorney plays an invaluable role in navigating and resolving legal conflicts within your community. Below we’ll discuss four common steps HOAs, along with their attorneys, take to address legal disputes within their community.

Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR)

When a dispute comes to light in your condo association, one of the first recommended steps is to go through a method called Internal Dispute Resolution (IDR). In this process, a “fair, reasonable and expeditious procedure” must take place under the Davis-Stirling Act. The purpose of this procedure is to attempt to address the issue outside of court without fees or other costs to the member.

If the IDR doesn’t work, we recommend moving on to a progressive three-step process called Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), which involves negotiation, mediation, and finally, arbitration if the matter is not resolved in earlier steps.

Mediation

Mediation is the first and least invasive step of ADR. Your HOA attorney acts as a skilled, third-party mediator who attempts to reconcile the situation and bring both parties to an acceptable resolution by facilitating negotiations between the disputing parties. Mediation is the most economical, effective and diplomatic way to settle a dispute.

Arbitration

If mediation doesn’t work or it is not an option, the next step is arbitration. Here, an arbitrator steps in to make a verdict on the dispute. This involves a formal procedure but remains outside of court, which in most cases means it will not go on public record. Arbitration will follow Florida statute guidelines as well as adhering to your association’s CC&Rs. While typically more costly and time-consuming than mediation, arbitration is still a more preferred route than litigation.

Litigation

Litigation is the final step in resolving disputes. You’ll need an attorney now if you haven’t yet secured one. Before going to trial, most judges require that disputing parties go through a form of mediation in an attempt to settle the case out of the courtroom, but this doesn’t always work. When a trial is required, you want experienced legal counsel at your side.Dispute resolution is never fun, but the more quickly you can address the situation, the better. Our team at Dania Fernandez and Associates, P.A. has significant experience addressing legal disputes among condo associations in South Florida, and we are here to help with any of your needs. To ask your questions about community law in Florida, get in touch with us by calling 305-254-4492

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