Topic: Homeowners Association Law
This procedure is described in Civil Code Sections 5925 et seq. This is a mandatory procedure for both the property owner and the homeowners association prior to the initiation oflitigation to enforce the CC&R ‘s and the other governing documents of the association. There are several exceptions to this requirement where ADR is not required i .e. where injunctive relief is required. But, in most cases, ADR is required. ADR can consist of three alternatives: mediation, non-binding arbitration or binding arbitration. ADR is mandatory for the party who proposes to initiate the litigation. Thus, if the property owner requests ADR and the association declines to participate, the property owner then is permitted to initiate litigation against the association. Similarly, if the association requests ADR and the property owner declines to participate, the association can then initiate litigation against the property owner. Many disputes between owners and associations are resolved at mediation pursuant to alternative dispute resolution prior to the initiation of litigation.
A shortcoming in the ADR statute is that there is no mechanism to address an impasse in the procedure to complete the process. For example, ifthe parties disagree as to the date, location or duration of ADR or the selection of a neutral or the form of ADR (arbitration vs. mediation), there is no mechanism to resolve this impasse. If the proponent of ADR complies with the requirements of the ADR statute, this is all that is required to initiate litigation. Litigation initiated without compliance with ADR can be dismissed.