38. We are having serious issues in our association with homeowners and we just don’t understand the difference between negotiation, mediation or arbitration, can you please clarify this?

OK, do attend WVOHOA meetings, we have several HOAs who could share their experiences on this important subject and might provide information that would be helpful. Civility is mandatory in all instances.

To continue, you are referring to handling one or more conflict resolutions, this is also known as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), which includes negotiation, mediation and arbitration. It provides HOAs with a means to resolve conflict more quickly, economically and sometimes more fairly than the traditional justice system.

  • Negotiation is the first step in conflict resolution. It allows associations to work independently, requires the least amount of time and resources and does not require assistance from a professional mediator or attorney.
  • Mediation is an informal, cooperative, problem-solving approach to conflict resolution. It relies on a trained third person (who has no personal stake in the outcome) to facilitate the negotiation. The mediator ensures constructive interchange between people and won’t allow the parties to stoop to adversarial posturing or name-calling. Mediated settlement agreements are created by the parties involved and aren’t legally binding unless formalized by contract or court order.
  • Arbitration is a formal, rule-oriented process that is more expensive and takes more time than mediation, but less than a court case. In arbitration, a neutral party renders a legal decision based on evidence and testimony and makes a final award in favor of one party. The arbitrator’s office is quasi-judicial in nature, making final awards enforceable in court.

The full explanation of this answer is provided by Community Associations Institute –ATTACHED for your convenience and continued reference.