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What can be challenged in arbritration?

Can someone offer guidance on what to expect when seeking arbitration for condo disputes? Are there restrictions/limitations of challenges? How does one go about initiating the process and what are the expectations once the process has started?

Thank you, in advance, for your help.

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Submitted Mon, 03/20/2017 - 14:36

Most of the answers to your question can't really be provided, because too much depends on the facts of your dispute as well as your condominium's by-laws, Declaration of Trust, and other condo docs.

The condo docs establish the procedure for resolving disputes among condo owners. There is a difference between a dispute for instance, between an owner and a trustee, or an owner and another owner. The docs can set out a specific procedure for how arbitration has to be initiated and conducted, or can be more vague and reference the "American Arbitration Association" or "ADR" rules for arbitration. Normally there is a specific way that you must notify or request arbitration of the other side set out.

Similarly, the condo docs can limit what must or can be arbitrated, and what must or can go to court. In starting the arbitration, you are normally required to send out a notice requesting arbitration in a specific way. That notice normally states all of the issues to be arbitrated. You may or may not be limited to discussing just those issues or whether you can discuss anything, by the arbitration agreement between the parties.

Arbitration is essentially a private trial between two individuals. You are paying a neutral third party to make a legal decision in your case on your schedule and by your rules rather than waiting on a court. The rules of arbitration may be exactly the same as they would in a court, or can be adjusted by the parties. It is a common misunderstanding that arbitration will be easier to do on your own than a court case. This, unfortunately, is not really the case. The outcome of an arbitration is legally binding and will be adopted by a court if you fail to abide by it. It has almost the same legal impact as a court case.

In order to give you any kind of substantive guidance, I would need to sit down or talk with you about what specific issues you are looking to arbitrate, and review your condominium documents to see what kind of restrictions there are about initiating and maintaining an arbitration request. I would be happy to complete a free consultation with you on the issue to go over some more details and see how I might be able to help.

Feel free to contact me directly at 617-859-8966 or e-mail me at to go over some basic info and set up a time to do a more detailed consultation.

Atty. David Owens
Grolman LLP

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