Limiting HOA Liability and Confronting Conflict

Posted on Saturday November 11, 2017



As an HOA member, you’re often confronted with a variety of legal issues and gray areas concerning residents. The issues you face will vary, but they often boil down to disagreements between a homeowner and your association, or a dispute against another resident. To help you face the potential for legal issues going forward, we’ve compiled some best practices for dealing with conflict resolution:

Consult the Experts

If you experience any issue or dispute with your association or residents, you can often reach out to your community management company for guidance. They typically have the experience and local knowledge to help determine the best solution. If you are considering legal action, make sure to consult your association attorney immediately to ensure you understand your legal options, limitations and requirements.

Consider Mediation or Arbitration

Mediation and arbitration both serve as potential alternatives to a full-scale lawsuit.
  • In mediation, the process is facilitated by an independent and neutral party who works with both sides to productively discuss their issues and negotiate a resolution. Attorneys are optional and neither party is forced to accept a mediation decision. If both parties agree to the decision, they may then sign an agreement at the conclusion of mediation.
  • In arbitration, an arbitrator (similar to a private judge) hears from both sides, who are each represented by attorneys. After hearing witness testimony and reviewing relevant documents, the arbitrator makes a decision (binding or non-binding). If the decision is binding, both parties must comply with the decision.  

Potentially Pursue Litigation

If mediation and arbitration prove to be unsuccessful or would not work in your particular situation, you may need to involve the formal legal system. However, before you move on to litigation in the court system, make sure to request guidance from your association attorney on your legal options and best practices. 

An experienced community management company can also provide guidance regarding your disputes and conflicts with residents. To learn more, contact FirstService Residential, Arizona’s leader in community association management.

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