As we know, disputes arise in all areas of life – work, home and in communities. However, we
find that when they occur between members of a community and impact your lifestyle, then
they have a dramatic impact on the harmony within a neighborhood. Owners take sides, disputes
arise, and conflict exists where it never did before. The utmost goal is to prevent conflict.
However, when it does occur, using a method of dispute resolution may help you to clearly see
your way through mediating the issues at hand.
In an association, there are two prescribed methods of dispute resolution, Internal Dispute
Resolution (IDR) and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). The civil code provides the steps
an owner must take to request either form of resolution. IDR is less formal and will take
place between the Board as a whole or a member appointed by the Board to meet with the owner,
discuss, and try to come to a resolution. ADR is more formal and may include arbitration or
mediation with a judge or trained mediatory. The owner and association typically split the
cost of the ADR process and the decision may be either binding or non-binding depending on
the agreement of the parties before they enter into the process.
It is important to show respect for both parties during conflict resolution and for everyone
involved to keep control over their emotions. Some tips for successful resolution are as
1. Always Remain Objective – Each participant should maintain an open and general concern for
resolving the issues in the best interest of everyone involved. Everyone should enter the
process with an open-mind and goal to compromise and reach a resolution. There are some disputes
that may not be able to be resolved through this process but many neighbor-to-neighbor
2. Use Courteous and Civil Behavior – Disputes within an association are often very emotional
and members may become passionate in their presentation. Many times the original concern may
be minimal and easy to resolve. However, as conflicts grow they then lead to the pride,
lifestyle, perceptions, or neighbors becoming involved. It is crucial to keep the discussion
within a form of parliamentary procedure and you can also implement the following tips:
- Only one person should speak at a time
- South Courtesy to all participants and do not interrupt while they are speaking
- Respect the responsibility and authority of the person leading the meeting
- Be prepared to speak – comments should be to the point and relate to the issue at hand.
- Do not shout.
- Do not use profanity or language that is inflammatory
- Use words that express a positive attitude.
3. Provide a specific statement as to the problem – By defining what the problem is in clear,
understandable terms you will be helping to make the first steps towards conflict resolution.
4. Keep communication open – You probably have a lot in common with the other parties but the
emotions involved during the conflict have clouded that fact. Do not proceed like a bull in
a china closet. Take your time to evaluate and consider everything being said. Try to find
the common grounds between you so you can see some of the options that may be available.
Help to create an environment of trust.
5. Listen to all positions and options – Do not have a closed mind to another participant's
position – hear what they have to say and be willing to be flexible.
6. Offer Alternatives and Solutions – Be a part of the solution not a part of the problem.
Disagreements may arise but help to negotiate solutions. Try to be impartial and understand
all parties' positions and opinions.
7. End with a clear decision and agreement as to action to be taken – After all parties have
had the opportunity to be heard and participate, you should try to reach a conclusion. Do
not be ambiguous and make sure all parties understand and agree as to what they are to be
doing. If necessary, follow up with participants to see if the agreed actions.