Meet & Confer. Associations must provide a "fair, reasonable and expeditious" procedure for resolving disputes between the association and its members without charging a fee to the member participating in the process. (Civ. Code §5910.) The process is referred to as "Internal Dispute Resolution" (IDR) or "meet and confer."
Pre-Litigation IDR. An association may not file a civil action regarding a dispute in which the member has requested dispute resolution unless the association has complied with Civil Code §5910 by engaging in good faith in the internal dispute resolution procedures after a member invokes those procedures. (Civ. Code §5910.1.)
Notice. Associations must notify their members of both ADR and IDR dispute resolution procedures.
Default Procedure. If an association does not establish its own procedures, then the following procedures automatically apply (Civ. Code §5915(b)):
(1) The party may request the other party to meet and confer in an effort to resolve the dispute. The request shall be in writing.
(2) A member of an association may refuse a request to meet and confer. The association may not refuse a request to meet and confer.
(3) The board shall designate a director to meet and confer.
(4) The parties shall meet promptly at a mutually convenient time and place, explain their positions to each other, and confer in good faith in an effort to resolve the dispute. The parties may be assisted by an attorney or another person at their own cost when conferring.
(5) A resolution of the dispute agreed to by the parties shall be memorialized in writing and signed by the parties, including the board designee on behalf of the association.
Written Resolution. Any agreement resolving the dispute must be in writing and signed by both parties. The agreement cannot conflict with the law or governing documents and within the authority of the board. (Civ. Code §5915(c).)
"Appealing" a Penalty. There is no specific appeals procedure described in the Davis-Stirling Act for penalties imposed by an association against a member for violation of the rules and regulations. However, the IDR procedures described above could be used to appeal a decision since a meet and confer is mandatory if requested by a member. When it comes to ADR (mediation and arbitration), the association has no obligation to accept a request for ADR. If, however, the member is planning to sue the association, the member may be obligated to request ADR before filing suit, at which point the association should accept the request for ADR.
ADR Comparison. See ADR-IDR Comparison Chart.
ASSISTANCE: Contact us about establishing a written enforcement procedure for your association with violation reports, form notices, hearing procedures, and updated fine schedules. To stay current with issues affecting community associations, subscribe to the Davis-Stirling Newsletter.