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Internal Disputes

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INTERNAL DISPUTE RESOLUTION PROCEDURE

Q. 
What do you recommend as a procedure for resolving disputes between our association and members of the association?

A. 
Homeowner associations are required by California law to provide a fair, reasonable and expeditious procedure for resolving disputes between the association and its members that must satisfy all of the following requirements.

The procedure may be invoked by either party to the
dispute.  A request invoking the procedure shall be in writing.
   

The procedure shall provide for prompt deadlines. The
  procedure shall state the maximum time for the
  association to act on a request invoking the procedure.
   

If the procedure is invoked by a member, the
  association shall participate in the procedure.

If the procedure is invoked by the association, the member may elect not to participate in the procedure. If the member participates but the dispute is resolved other than by agreement of the member, the member shall have the right of appeal to the association's board of directors.

A resolution of a dispute pursuant to the procedure, that is not in conflict with the law or the governing documents, binds the association and is judicially enforceable. An agreement reached pursuant to the procedure, that is not in conflict with the law of the governing documents, binds the parties and is judicially enforceable.

The procedure shall provide a means by which the member and the association may explain their positions.

A member of the association shall not be charged a fee to participate in the process.

The procedure is referred to as internal dispute resolution or IDR. Top


FAILURE TO PROVIDE IDR PROCEDURE

Q. 
What happens if our association has not provided an internal dispute resolution procedure?

A. 
The California legislature has created a default procedure which follows:

A member of an association may refuse a request to
  meet and confer. The association may not refuse 
  a request to meet and confer.
   

The association’s board of directors shall designate
  a member of the board to meet and confer.
   

The parties shall meet promptly at a mutually convenient
  time and place, explain their positions to each other,
  and confer in good faith in an effort to resolve the dispute.
   

A resolution of the dispute agreed to by the parties shall
  be memorialized in writing and signed by the parties,
  including the board designee on behalf of the
  association.

An agreement reached under this section binds the parties and is judicially enforceable if both of the following conditions are satisfied:

1)

The agreement is not in conflict with law or the
  governing documents of the common interest
  development or association.
   

2)

The agreement is either consistent with the authority
  granted by the board of directors to its designee or
  the agreement is ratified by the board of directors.

A member of the association may not be charged a fee to participate in the process. Top


EFFECTIVENESS OF IDR

Q. 
Have you found IDR to be effective in resolving disputes?

A. 
No. It is rarely effective.
Top


NEED AN HOA MEDIATOR

Q. 
Our association board was unsuccessful in resolving a dispute with one of our members. We want to avoid litigation and need an experienced mediator who understands homeowner association law. How do we locate an HOA mediator?

A. 
Visit the website: HomeownerAssociationMediator.com.
Top


HEARING PROCEDURES

Q. 
Our board recently held a hearing to determine whether to fine a member for an alleged rule violation. The board allowed hearsay to be introduced. Is this allowable by law?

A. 
Yes. Boards are not required to follow the California Rules of Evidence used by courts. They may hear the evidence and then weigh it based on their own determination of its reliability.
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