A homeowners (HOA) or condominium association (COA) is a great advantage in maintaining community common areas and protecting property values of residential homes. As with any group where decisions are made by voting, problems arise when people can’t agree or deviate from the HOA guidelines. An effective dispute resolution plan is essential for a successful Homeowners Association.
State laws can impact how your HOA Board establishes a dispute resolution plan, so you should seek the assistance of your HOA attorney or property management company at the onset. Some of the typical steps to consider when you setting up or revising a dispute resolution plan are:
1. One party involved must request to initiate the dispute resolution process before it may begin. A written request will trigger the process. It is common for a member of the association and any owners involved in a dispute to be identified as the parties that will be actively participating in dispute resolution.
2. An initial meeting should be set to give both sides of the dispute the opportunity to voice concerns and explain any remedies that are being sought. This meeting will take place soon after the written request is received and must be held at a location that both parties have agreed upon.
3. If both parties are able to come to an agreement during the resolution meeting, this agreement will be put in writing and signed by each party to acknowledge that the dispute has been resolved. If an agreement cannot be made, it will be necessary for a third party to become involved in the process.
4. A meeting with the third party will determine how the conflict will be resolved. The third party must be neutral and able to present a resolution that takes the concerns of both sides into consideration. This resolution will be put into writing at the conclusion of the meeting.
A successful HOA Board learns how to communicate with owners and implements a Dispute Resolution Plan that helps resolve disputes in a timely manner. Solving disagreements fairly and quickly goes a long way in maintaining a positive relationship with homeowners.
Wise Property Solutions serves condominium and homeowners associations by addressing their financial, association and facilities management needs. The only certified and licensed community association management firm serving the Mountain South (Virginia, North & South Carolina, Tennessee) with offices in the Tri-Cities and Knoxville.