2007 Florida Statute Requiring Mediation for HOA Disputes
Legislation aimed at alleviating congestion in the Florida court system brought about by the high volume of legal disputes involving homeowners' associations went into effect on July 1, 2007. The law requires associations to try mediation to resolve their differences before going to court. To learn more, please see the language below.
(1) The Legislature finds that alternative dispute resolution has made progress in reducing court dockets and trials and in offering a more efficient, cost-effective option to litigation. The filing of any petition for arbitration or the serving of a demand for presuit mediation as provided for in this section shall toll the applicable statute of limitations. Any recall dispute filed with the department pursuant to s. 720.303(10) shall be conducted by the department in accordance with the provisions of ss. 718.112(2)(j) and 718.1255 and the rules adopted by the division. In addition, the department shall conduct mandatory binding arbitration of election disputes between a member and an association pursuant to s. 718.1255 and rules adopted by the division. Neither election disputes nor recall disputes are eligible for presuit mediation; these disputes shall be arbitrated by the department. At the conclusion of the proceeding, the department shall charge the parties a fee in an amount adequate to cover all costs and expenses incurred by the department in conducting the proceeding. Initially, the petitioner shall remit a filing fee of at least $200 to the department. The fees paid to the department shall become a recoverable cost in the arbitration proceeding, and the prevailing party in an arbitration proceeding shall recover its reasonable costs and attorney's fees in an amount found reasonable by the arbitrator. The department shall adopt rules to effectuate the purposes of this section.
(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 demand for presuit mediation served by an aggrieved party before the dispute is filed in court. Presuit mediation proceedings must be conducted in accordance with the applicable Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, and these proceedings are privileged and confidential to the same extent as court-ordered mediation. Disputes subject to presuit mediation under this section shall not include the collection of any assessment, fine, or other financial obligation, including attorney's fees and costs, claimed to be due or any action to enforce a prior mediation settlement agreement between the parties. Also, in any dispute subject to presuit mediation under this section where emergency relief is required, a motion for temporary injunctive relief may be filed with the court without first complying with the presuit mediation requirements of this section. After any issues regarding emergency or temporary relief are resolved, the court may either refer the parties to a mediation program administered by the courts or require mediation under this section. An arbitrator or judge may not consider any information or evidence arising from the presuit mediation proceeding except in a proceeding to impose sanctions for failure to attend a presuit mediation session or to enforce a mediated settlement agreement. Persons who are not parties to the dispute may not attend the presuit mediation conference without the consent of all parties, except for counsel for the parties and a corporate representative designated by the association. When mediation is attended by a quorum of the board, such mediation is not a board meeting for purposes of notice and participation set forth in s. 720.303.
An aggrieved party shall serve on the responding party a written demand to participate in presuit mediation in substantially the following form:
If your condominium or homeowners' association is looking for assistance from a certified Florida mediator with the professional experience and communication skills needed to resolve conflicts amicably and fairly, please contact Association Mediation, Inc. today.
Association Mediation, Inc.
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From our offices in Hollywood, we mediate disputes for Florida condominium and homeowners' associations in communities throughout South Florida including Miami, Miami Beach, South Beach, Aventura, Sunny Isles Beach, Pembroke Pines, Ft. Lauderdale, Hollywood, Weston, Deerfield Beach, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, and Pompano Beach. Our representation spans Broward County, Miami-Dade County, and Palm Beach County.
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