MEDIATION IN HOAs?
Published October 5, 2018
Florida statutes 720.311 requires PRESUIT mediation
before the parties can go to court. The statutes state in detail
what kind of disputes require presuit mediation procedures.
See FS 720.311(2)(a)
Disputes between an
association and a parcel owner regarding use of or changes to
the parcel or the common areas and other covenant enforcement
disputes, disputes regarding amendments to the association
documents, disputes regarding meetings of the board and
committees appointed by the board, membership meetings not
including election meetings, and access to the official records
of the association shall be the subject of a for presuit
mediation served by an aggrieved party
before the dispute is filed in court….
The idea was great and during the meetings of the
HOA TASK FORCE
all kinds of promises were made that mediation would be a
feasible solution at low expense.
For the detailed process of Presuit Mediation please go to:
Well, intentions are often good, but reality is a little different.
We all know that mediation only works if both parties approach
mediation in good faith, meaning that they are willing to find a
But make no mistake: Quite a few of the so-called specialized
attorneys are using mediation to increase their legal billing
and are just dragging out the procedures for a few more hours,
never intending to settle the dispute in the first place.
Some of these attorneys are just using it to bleed the owner
financially dry – with no willingness to settle in the first
Here is the warning for owners: Participate in presuit mediation as
required by law, but make sure that the chosen mediator has only
a 1-hour requirement. Most of these disputes should be settled
within one hour. If you get the feeling that the lengthy talk is
only serving the purpose of dragging out the procedures, cut the
process short and have mediation declared moot. Remember: You
nee your money later on in court!
Mediation sounds good, but don’t fall into the trap of lengthy talk
without getting anything achieved.
||Jan Bergemann is president of Cyber Citizens For Justice,
's largest state-wide property owners' advocacy group.
CCFJ works on legislation to help owners living in
associations. He moved to
in 1995 - hoping to retire. He moved into a HOA, where the
developer cheated the homeowners and used the association dues
for his own purposes. End of retirement!
CCFJ was born in the year 2000, when some owners met in
- finding out that power is only in numbers. Bergemann was a
member of Governor Jeb Bush's HOA Task force in 2003/2004.
The organization has two websites to inform interested
homeowners and condo owners:
News Website: http://www.ccfj.net/.
Educational Website: http://www.ccfjfoundation.net/.
We think that only owners can really represent owners, since all
service providers surely have a different interest! We are
trying to create owner-friendly laws, but the best laws are
useless without enforcement. And enforcement is totally lacking