By Eric Glazer, Esq.

Published September 20, 2021


Prior to July 1st, 2021 if a condominium dispute arose, the parties were forced to first arbitrate the matter before the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.  The law has now changed and reads as follows:

(a) Before the institution of court litigation, a party to a dispute, other than an election or recall dispute, shall either petition the division for nonbinding arbitration or initiate presuit mediation.


As you can see, now the plaintiff has a choice to start the matter in arbitration or mediation.  So which one do you choose?


If you decide to go to arbitration, your case will be assigned to an arbitrator in Tallahassee.  The arbitrator will read the briefs, hold hearings and ultimately enter an order.  Someone will win and someone will lose.  The loser will pay the winner’s attorney’s fees.  The loser can then file in court for a trial de novo.  In effect, it’s an appeal of the arbitrator’s order and the case starts all over again.  The winner of the trial de novo gets their attorney’s fees and costs from the loser, including the arbitration fees.


So….the risk in going to arbitration is that if you lose, you may wind up not only paying your lawyer, but the other side’s lawyer too.


The alternative is to mediate the dispute.  I have been certified since 2007 as a Circuit Court mediator.  I truly enjoy mediating cases and helping the parties resolve their disputes.  At mediation, the parties appear with their attorneys.  The mediator explains that today is a good day to settle the case on mutually agreeable terms, rather than leave your fate up to a judge or jury.  If an agreement is reached, it is enforceable in a court of law.  The mediator allows the parties to make opening statements, then separates the parties and goes back and forth trying to achieve a settlement.


There is very little risk in going to mediation.  There is no “winner” or “loser” at mediation, so neither party has to worry about paying the other side’s attorney’s fees.  The parties split the cost of the mediator.


When I act as a mediator, I explain to the parties that neither side will get everything they want today, and that if at the end of the day both parties feel a little miserable, I probably achieved a fair result.

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About HOA & Condo Blog

Eric Glazer

Eric Glazer graduated from the University of Miami School of Law in 1992 after receiving a B.A. from NYU. He has practiced community association law for three decades and is the owner of Glazer and Sachs, P.A. a five attorney law firm with offices in Fort Lauderdale and Orlando.

Eric is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Condominium and Planned Development Law.


Since 2009, Eric has been the host of Condo Craze and HOAs, a weekly one hour radio show that airs at 11:00 a.m. each Sunday on 850 WFTL.




Eric is the first attorney in the State of Florida that designed a course that certifies condominium and HOA residents as eligible to serve on a Board of Directors and has now certified more than 20,000 Floridians all across the state. He is certified as a Circuit Court Mediator by The Florida Supreme Court and has mediated dozens of disputes between associations and unit owners. Eric also devotes significant time to advancing legislation in the best interest of Florida community association members.

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