CCOC Testimony On Proposed Legislation For Mediation Of Ct Condo Disputes





I currently serve as President of the Connecticut Condo Owners Coalition (CCOC).  The Connecticut Condo Owners Coalition (CCOC), is an organization, comprised of a volunteer Executive & Advisory Board. We currently have approximately 1,000 members, CCOC does not assess any enrollment or membership fees, and our prime objective is to advocate for the rights of condominium owners statewide.

 CCOC applauds the Judiciary Committee for drafting this bill and holding a public hearing. CCOC believes that unit owners desperately need a forum to try to resolve disputes. Ideally a state agency such as DCP would provide such a forum but financial constraints at the state level have prevented this approach from being adopted. As an alternative, CCOC initially proposed the expansion of Small Claims Court jurisdiction to allow magistrates to resolve more condo related disputes.

CCOC SUPPORTS THIS BILL given that it is the only approach that has sufficient support at this time.

However, CCOC respectfully recommends that the Judicial Department report back to the legislature by January 1, 2016, instead of January 1, 2017. If this approach is not working the Legislature should be made aware sooner rather than later. Statistics compiled in the fifteen-month time frame should provide sufficient information to determine whether this approach has merit. This would also allow legislators to consider other possible courses of action to assist residents of common interest communities in a more-timely manner.

We have noted below CCOC’s RECOMMENDATIONS FOR AMENDMENTS followed by a summary of HB 5590.

Report to the Legislature

CCOC respectfully requests that the Committee consider amending HB 5590 to shorten the reporting deadline to January 1, 2016 vs. January 1, 2017.

The majority of cases that go into mediation will involve unit owner complaints.  A unit owner will pay the non-refundable $50 and while it is hopeful Associations will participate, it is not certain since most complaints to CCOC allege intentional violations by associations and a blatant disregard of existing law.

When Must the Mediation Take Place

In its present draft, the bill does not say when mediation must take place only when parties must be notified and once mediation has been filed the process for selecting a special master.

CCOC respectfully requests a reasonable time frame be proposed so that this forum not be used as a delay tactic that would prevent the requesting participant the ability to file a court action. Deadlines are imperative. Mutuality is important.

Selection of the Special Masters

Attorneys who represent a lot of associations get much of their business from management companies -in a sense, the attorney is “captive”. Relying on professional ethics, it would be hopeful that taking a position adverse to management will not impact this process.

Setting the criteria for an applicant wishing to serve as a special master to have engaged in the practice of condominium law for not less than seven years may be too rigid. However, CCOC will defer to the committee in its wisdom of this stipulation.

However, CCOC respectfully requests that from the attorneys who have been deemed qualified to serve that the list made available to each presiding judge designated to participate in this pilot program. Hopefully. will include attorneys who provide counsel to individual unit owners as well as condominium associations.

If I, or members of CCOC’s Executive and/or Advisory Boards, can furnish the Committee with additional information or assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.


One Response to CCOC Testimony On Proposed Legislation For Mediation Of Ct Condo Disputes

  1. Awaiting REVIEW of Consumer Protection. With all the notices that you send I am hoping that someone will figure it out – where does each one of us fit – with our issues.
    I had a question and wrote to Gayle but I did not receive an answer.

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