MEDIATION – DOES IT WORK?
Published September 24, 2021
Mediation only works if both parties
are willing to compromise – and in many community association
disputes that is not the case. I have seen it over and over
again: Association attorneys drag out the mediation procedures,
making the owners believe that they are willing to settle. Their
clock is running – and in many cases they know from starters
that there will be no settlement. Remember: Even the best
mediator is helpless if the parties are not willing to
compromise. For many association attorneys it’s just the
beginning of a tactic that aims at financially ruining the
owner. In many of these cases associations don’t really have a
legal defense and know that they would eventually lose in court
– if the owner has enough money to get the case into the
It’s all a matter of opinion, but from
my experience owners should always pick mediators that only have
a 1 (or 2) hour minimum and are close by. My suggestion to
owners: Make your demands, but if there is no solution within
the hour, have the mediator declare the mediation moot. Save
your money to make it into the court–room. Always remember: The
association has unlimited funds – partially your money – and can
drag a case out for a long time.
In summary: I’m not fond of mediation
since the system relies on two parties willing to find an
agreement. And that is – I’m sorry to say – often not the case.
||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