Living in a strata community requires that we learn to live in close proximity with one another. Living in close proximity means that there may be times that others could affect one’s enjoyment of their property and the common area. Where disagreements occur, your strata community could receive complaints from residents about others’ behaviour including misconducts resulting in damage to private or common property. It then becomes necessary for your strata community to hold a dispute resolution meeting by inviting the complainant and the alleged offender to the meeting, with a goal to reach an agreed solution to the issue. That is why strata communities must know techniques so that an effective dispute resolution meeting is held. 1. Request from the complainant evidence of the alleged offence
Before your strata community decides to hold a dispute resolution meeting, it is necessary to ask the complainant reasonable evidence to support that the alleged offence continues to occur. Nothing could be worse than holding a dispute resolution meeting and the alleged offender denies the alleged offence and points out that there are insufficient evidence supporting that they have caused the offence.
2. Determine the appropriate and effective meeting platform
As you know the choices of meeting platforms have now expanded to not only face to face, but also through phone or video conference platforms. Your strata community should consider if one of the following platforms (which should depend on the issue in dispute) could be effectively discussed in one of the following- face to face meeting, phone conference or video conference. It should also be considered if the attendees have reasonable access to the chosen platform, so that all parties are given fair opportunity to attend the dispute resolution meeting. 3. Issue a sufficient and compliant dispute resolution meeting notice to the appropriate parties
Make sure that your strata community includes in the dispute resolution meeting notice the agenda a copy of the complaint, evidence received from the complainant, time and date of the meeting and the meeting platform. The meeting notice should be given to the parties within a reasonable period of time so that they could make the necessary personal arrangements in able to attend the dispute resolution meeting. 4. Invite an independent third party to chair the dispute resolution meeting
The purpose of a dispute resolution meeting is to provide the affected parties (complainant and alleged offender) an opportunity to be heard. That said, it is crucial that the strata community engages an independent third party to chair the meeting. Otherwise, the parties may not open up at the meeting, which could compromise the opportunity to resolve the dispute.
5. Aim to reach a resolution
The parties (complainant and alleged offender) should be reminded that it will be very difficult to determine the outcome of the dispute if it is litigated (court dispute). If they resort to litigation, they are passing the power to decide the outcome of the dispute to a judge or tribunal member and the outcome will be very difficult to determine. Not only does litigation cost, but it takes time and could take an emotional toll on all parties of the dispute.
Inform the parties that it is likely that they would prefer to put control of the outcome in their own hands instead. Thus, it is absolutely necessary to be open to negotiations at the dispute resolution meeting. These are the 5 techniques to hold an effective dispute resolution meeting. Holding an effective one means all parties must work hard to reach an agreed resolution. Strata enthusiasts, do not forget – continue upgrading yourself.