East Hawaii News

Condo Owners Receive Assistance through State Services

July 1, 2015, 11:32 AM HST
* Updated July 1, 11:37 AM
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Condominium owners in Hawai’i will soon have two new services to assist them, according to the State of Hawai’i Department of Commerce and Commerce Affairs’ Real Estate Commission.

REC has launched a new e-mail subscription service for unit owners and the general public to provide a wider distribution and overall access to educational materials. In addition, the commission will begin to promote the start of its evaluative mediation service as a way of dispute resolution, as Act 197 passed in 2013 allows.

The new e-mail services will provide information, including a quarterly condominium bulletin and other information pertaining to condominium law. REC says the surveys and additional ways to gather information regarding condominium interests and issues, as well as distribution of useful information, may also be sent through the new service.

Condo owners are currently only provided information through specific contact individuals listed on an association’s biennial registration form.

“With more and more Hawai’i residents buying and moving into condominiums every year, we are taking steps to make sure people who own, live, and manage condominiums have the information they need in a form that’s easier to access,” said Neil Fujitani, supervising executive officer of the REC.

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Those interested in subscribing to the REC e-mail list may do so at the Commerce and Commerce Affairs website.

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REC’s evaluative mediation service is being promoted to allow an evaluative mediation as a mean to resolve disputes. Since 1992, the REC has supported and subsidized facilitative mediation. Now, including evaluative mediation will give condominium owners a stronger tool to resolve issues while providing owners with a more effective tool. The underlying philosophy of the Hawai’i condominium law, “self-enforcement by condominium owners,” will also continue to be supported.

Through evaluative mediation, trained mediators who have certain subject matter expertise in a particular law area assist in the discussion between parties to attempt to reach an agreement.

Beginning on July 1, evaluative mediation will be open to any condominium owner or a registered condominium association.

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The mediation is available with four providers of evaluative mediation, including The Mediation Center of the Pacific, Inc., Dispute Prevention and Resolution, Inc., Crumpton Collaborative Solutions, LLC, and Lou Chang, Esq.

Parties involved in the mediation are required to pay for the first hour, which is $375 per party. The rest of the payment is subsidized by funds from the Condominium Education Trust Fund. Mediations may cost no more than $3,000 unless it is determined that additional mediation time would be beneficial.

“The evaluative approach to mediation provides a mediator with enhanced tools to help the parties reach a resolution,” explained Fujitani.  “The evaluative mediators may be chosen for their skills as a mediator, as well as for their knowledge of the relevant case law, and subject matter expertise of the laws governing condominium associations.”

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