Disputes involving a homeowners' association can be contentious and emotional, especially when they affect community relationships and enjoyment of one's own home.
As such, it is important to take HOA disputes seriously and take deliberate actions to seek a resolution. In most cases, this means attending presuit mediation. If you are a homeowner who is battling your HOA over issues like covenant enforcement, board meetings or changes to your parcel, then it can be wise to prepare for presuit mediation.
What is presuit mediation?
Presuit mediation is a method of dispute resolution that allows two parties to attempt to work together to find an agreeable solution. During mediation, each party will present their case and discuss possible solutions. A neutral mediator will help discussions stay on track and balanced.
At the end, parties may come to an agreement that becomes binding. If parties cannot reach an agreement, you have the option of filing a lawsuit.
What homeowners must do before presuit mediation
In accordance with Florida homeowners' association statutes, you (or the aggrieved party) will write and submit a letter to the HOA. The letter will state your request for mandatory presuit mediation and include details about the dispute. You will also need to select five certified mediators and include their information in the letter.
The HOA will either agree to mediation and select mediator or it will not. If they do not agree to it or respond to the letter, then you can proceed with a lawsuit. Otherwise, you will head to mediation.
Legal counsel can be crucial
Working with an attorney throughout this process can be important. Not only can an attorney help you navigate the legal system, but he or she can also help you understand your rights and help you build your case. You do not have to wait until you file a lawsuit, either. You can consult an attorney as soon as a dispute arises and he or she can help you though the mediation process as well.