The North Carolina Chapter of the Community Associations Institute (NC-CAI) has a new Community Association Mediation Program for resolving association disputes! Let me tell you about it.
A common complaint heard in the community association world is that there should be some place that homeowners or HOAs and condos can go to resolve disputes. However, the governmental costs to create and administer such a program for North Carolina’s almost 15,000 associations would be enormous. (And for that matter, should state government be in the business of regulating disputes over private real estate contracts?) While huge fights may end up with attorneys and in court, that leaves out smaller disagreements or those without the resources for litigation. My experience has been that many HOA/condo fights can get resolved if everyone just sits down and talks, but usually no one in a dispute wants to meet.
With that as background, I am pleased to announce that NC-CAI has created the Community Association Mediation Program (“CAMP”). Mediation typically provides a much faster and less expensive alternative to litigation. While details can be found on the websites below, here’s a summary:
- The Community Association Mediation Program covers the entire state geographically.
- To be eligible for CAMP at least one party must be a North Carolina community association (HOA or condo association).
- Both parties to the dispute must consent to mediation by completing an online form.
- Attorneys for either party are permitted in the mediation process, but not expected or required.
- In mediation, the mediator is not a decision-maker. Instead, the mediator assists the parties in reaching their own decision on resolving the dispute (This is not arbitration where an arbitrator makes a ruling for one side and against the other).
- Mediators are individuals with dispute resolution experience and are either (a) experienced community association attorneys with a focus on HOAs/condos or (b) professional community association managers with the highest credentials.
- Mediators must be impartial and can have no potential conflict of interest that would raise a question about the mediator’s impartiality.
- All information obtained in the mediation is kept confidential by the mediator.
- The total cost of administration and up-to a two hour mediation is $500, with half to be paid upfront by each party, unless agreed otherwise. This payment also ensures that both sides are serious about the process and committed to trying to work out a resolution.
Do you know of or are involved in a community association dispute? Give the Community Association Mediation Program a try!