So you have a property dispute. Maybe you are embroiled in a 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?
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 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
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
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