So you have a property dispute. Maybe you are embroiled in a Homer Simpson – Ned Flanders-esque feud with the annoying homeowner next door. Or, you’re a landlord or tenant, all-too-familiar with the never-ending battles over rental property damage and repairs.
Property disputes vary in form and degree. They can range from minor squabbles to spite fences and mortgage foreclosures. Disputes occur between neighbors and homeowners associations, and even family members and government associations. They’re virtually inevitable in one form or another. So what’s the solution?
Both Arbitration and Mediation Are Great Alternatives to Trial
People generally wish to avoid litigation. Arbitration and mediation offer an approach to conflict resolution for those who wish to steer clear of a trial. Typically, disagreements that enter into these negotiations are resolved quicker and with fewer complications than other legal matters.
However, it cannot be understated how quickly even simple property disputes have the potential to escalate. Arbitration and mediation can also be effectively used in conjunction with litigation. This allows people to attempt a negotiation first, before deciding if it must proceed to trial.
Arbitration and mediation are sometimes used interchangeably. While they seek to solve similar disputes, the two are not the same. So what are the differences, and which one should you ask for in a property dispute?
Arbitration: An Adversarial Approach to Conflict Resolution
Arbitration is an adversarial process where both sides of an argument can submit evidence of their position to an agreed upon third party
First, the similarities. In both arbitration and mediation, a neutral third party oversees the process. In mediation, this is usually just one person. Arbitration, on the other hand, generally utilizes a panel of arbitrators that act as judges. Commonly, each side will select an arbitrator, and those two will choose a third. Majority rule renders decisions.
A key difference is that in arbitration, the third party hears evidence from both sides and makes a decision. Formal rules and procedures set forth by the legal system often guide the process. The arbitrators conduct proceedings much like a court. Both sides question witnesses.
All parties must have previously agreed on stipulations regarding arbitration to have access to it as a means of conflict resolution,
Mediation: Resolving Disputes Amicably
Mediation is a process by which a third party works to facilitate discussion to help resolve a dispute
If you prefer taking a non-adversarial approach to conflict resolution, mediation is for you. Unlike arbitration, the process of mediation is about working with the other party to yield a resolution. Neither side can argue their position. The third party reserves judgment.
Often the mediator meets with each partly several times to gather facts and explore possible resolutions. This can be done separately or with both parties together. Each party speaks freely and openly. This process is intended to amicably yield an acceptable resolution for all parties in the dispute.
The mediator does not create a legally binding decision like an arbitrator. All parties must instead agree on the proposed resolution.
In Either Case, Is Hiring a Lawyer Necessary?
Both arbitration and mediation offer the benefit of resolving disagreements without taking a case to trial. Each option has its pros and cons but ultimately helps people save time and money. But because no two property disputes are the same, involving a knowledgeable real estate attorney can help resolve disputes quickly and easily.
The experienced attorneys of The Ticktin Law Group can help guide you through property disputes. Contact us today by calling (561) 232-2222 by filling out the contact form here. Our Legal Brains can help you navigate the process and provide guidance regarding your options.