Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes
CTMH Arbitration General Facts & Information
Arbitration is a formal process in which the arbitrator has the authority to decide the dispute in accordance with the law. Unlike mediation, the resolution of a dispute arbitrator's decision is not based on the voluntary acceptance of the parties; instead, the arbitrator has the authority to render a decision based on the facts involved in the parties' dispute. The arbitrator's decision is final and binding on the parties if the parties agree in advance to be bound by the arbitrator's decision, or if the matter is not filed in court for a new trial within 30 days of the arbitrator's decision.
The party who files a petition for arbitration is the petitioner; the respondent is the party who files an answer to the petition for arbitration. The only persons entitled to be parties in an arbitration proceeding are unit owners and associations. If the dispute involves a tenant and the relief sought does not request the eviction of a tenant or occupant, the party respondents shall be the unit owner and tenant.
The rules governing arbitration allow for a party to be represented by an attorney or a qualified representative who has been approved by the arbitrator. An attorney or qualified representative for any party shall remain attorney or representative of record until the arbitrator receives a notice of withdrawal of counsel or representative. The correct mailing address for the client should be included in the notice.
Section 718.1255(4), Florida Statutes, requires that the petitioner provide proof that it provided each named respondent with advance written notice of the specific nature of the dispute. The notice must contain a demand for relief, and notice of intent to file an arbitration petition or other legal action in the absence of a resolution of the dispute. The petitioner must also provide a reasonable opportunity for the respondent to comply or to provide the relief sought. Failure to meet the conditions of this provision requires dismissal of the arbitration petition without prejudice.
Before filing your petition, it is a good idea to verify that the named respondent has not complied with the written demand or provided the relief you are seeking. For example, if an association is considering filing a petition for arbitration seeking entry of a final order requiring the owner to install hurricane shutters, the association should check immediately that the owner has not installed the required shutters or entered into a contract for the installation of shutters.
Under section 718.1255(4), Florida Statutes, a petition for arbitration must include supporting proof that each of the named respondents received advance written notice of intent to file an arbitration petition or other legal action in the absence of a resolution of the dispute prior to the filing of the petition. Failure to meet the conditions of this provision requires dismissal of the arbitration petition without prejudice.