Peter Schroeter, Esq.
There are unique aspects about condominium disputes that make consideration
of early intervention mediation a good idea. Unlike most types of litigation,
condominium disputes often put neighbors who share common property interests
and see each other daily in an adversarial position. Assessments for legal
expenses cause resentment among association members and often exacerbate
an already emotionally charged situation. Prolonged litigation can divide
the community and adversely impact the value of all owners’ units.
Because these disputes often involve a relatively modest amount of fines,
property damage or unpaid dues, at least initially, the attorney’s
fees and expenses of litigation can often be out of proportion to the
amount in controversy. Once the onset of litigation and the passage of
time cause attorney’s fees and fines for violations to increase,
disputes become increasingly difficult to resolve. Despite the ability
to collect fines and attorney’s fees if associations prevail in
litigation, Courts frequently reduce the amount of those claims, leaving
associations with attorney’s fees significantly in excess of what
is awarded by the Court, not to mention the collection difficulties from
unit owners that subsequently follow.
Mediation early on in condominium disputes gives the parties an opportunity
to explore resolution before legal expenses become "the tail that
wags the dog" and before the heightened emotions and polarization
that occur when a lawsuit is filed. Engaging in mediation procedures that
create an environment where conversations are about resolution, instead
of litigation, promotes community harmony in the best interests of all
unit owners. Provided the concept is properly presented and fairly administered,
mediation at an early stage the condominium dispute can be used with or
without attorney involvement. Chances for resolving disputes are often
improved just by affording the unit owner the opportunity to have his
or her side heard by a neutral person. The cost and scheduling of mediation
can usually be tailored to the nature of the dispute and the needs of
If you have questions about real estate disputes,
contact Shahen & Gordon to discuss your case personally with an experienced lawyer.
Peter Schroeter is an experienced Mediator with Shaheen & Gordon, P.A.
and a member of the National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals. Attorney
Schroeter holds an AV Rating from Martindale Hubbell and has been recognized
in mediation by the Best Lawyers in America.