Can the Real Estate Commission Step in to Resolve Disputes Between Owners and the Association, Owners and the Board, Owners and the Managing Agent, or Disputes Between Owners?
Condominium law is based upon principles of self-governance, owner-enforcement, mandatory arbitration, mediation, and limited government intervention, which is restricted to violations specified in Part VI of Chapter 514B, HRS. The Regulated Industries Complaints Office (RICO) has the authority, on behalf of the Commission, to receive and investigate complaints, or initiate legal action. RICO’s telephone number is (808) 586-2653.
Mediation, arbitration, and litigation are some of the more noted self-governance tools available for resolving disputes.
The condominium law favors the use of these self-governance tools. The court will consider the condominium apartment owner’s use of these tools when awarding the expense of any court action and attorney’s fees in accordance with section 514B-157, HRS and section 514B-161, HRS, regarding mandatory mediation.
If a dispute relates to the interpretation, application or enforcement of Chapter 514B, HRS, or the associations’ declaration, bylaws, or house rules, section 514B-162, HRS, requires the dispute to be submitted to arbitration at the request of any party.
If an apartment owner or the board of directors requests mediation involving a dispute relating to the interpretation or enforcement of the associations’ declaration, bylaws, or house rules or involving certain sections of the condominium law as specified in section 514B-161, HRS, the non-requesting party shall be required to participate in mediation.
Should an owner prevail in any derivative action against an association, its officers, directors, or its board to enforce any provision of the declaration, bylaws, house rule, or the condominium law (Chapter 514B, HRS) then the owner shall be awarded the expense of suit and attorney’s fees; provided the owner has first demanded that the board pursue such enforcement, and allow the board a reasonable amount of time to pursue such enforcement, unless the demand would have been fruitless. (Section 514B-157, HRS)
Where an owner does not prevail in any court action, that owner shall be responsible for the association’s costs incurred and attorney’s fees. However, if the owner either files the action for enforcement in small claims court or prior to filing a court action in a higher court, the owner submits the claim to mediation or to arbitration and made a good faith effort to resolve the disputes, the owner is not responsible to pay the association’s attorneys fees and expenses of litigation. (Section 514B-157, HRS)
For condominium mediation and arbitration services, please review the Sources of Information page.