State Adds New Services to Assist Hawaii Condominium Owners
The state Department of Commerce and Commerce Affairs’ (DCCA) Real Estate Commission (REC) is launching two new services to help Hawaii condominium owners.
REC created a new email subscription list for unit owners and the general public to provide greater access and wider distribution to relevant educational materials. REC plans to send out materials such as the quarterly condominium bulletin and information on changes to the condominium law, and other useful information through this email list. In addition, REC may occasionally send out surveys to gather information on condominium interests and issues.
Currently, information is only provided to the designated contact person listed on the association’s biennial registration form.
“With more and more Hawaii 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, REC.
Interested parties may subscribe to the REC email list at: cca.hawaii.gov/reb/subscribe/.
As passed in Act 187 by the 2013 Legislature, REC is also promoting the start of its evaluative mediation service as a means of dispute resolution available to condominium owners. While the REC has been supporting and subsidizing facilitative mediation since 1992, the addition of evaluative mediation gives condominium owners a stronger tool for resolving disputes, while supporting the underlying philosophy of the Hawaii condominium law, Hawaii Revised Statutes, Chapter 514B, of self-enforcement by the condominium owners.
Evaluative mediation is a style of mediation that employs trained mediators who possess subject matter expertise in various areas of the law (e.g. condominium law, construction or contract law). Additionally, the mediators are familiar with the relevant case law and may make recommendations regarding the strength of each party’s position and the likelihood of either party prevailing in court or in an administrative hearing. The evaluative mediators facilitate discussion between the parties and assist in the parties’ attempts to reach an agreement. Many of the practitioners of evaluative mediation are active attorneys and retired judges.
Evaluative mediation is open to any condominium owner of a registered condominium association. In anticipation of the July 1, 2015 start-up date, REC has entered into agreements with four providers of evaluative mediation:
- The Mediation Center of the Pacific, Inc. (MCP)
- Dispute Prevention and Resolution, Inc. (DPR)
- Crumpton Collaborative Solutions, LLC (Charles “Chuck” Crumpton)
- Lou Chang, Esq., A Law Corporation
All four providers have extensive experience in mediation and arbitration.
The cost to users, except for a one hour payment by all parties, is subsidized by funds from the Condominium Education Trust Fund. The maximum amount per mediation is set at $3,000 unless the mediator determines the parties would benefit with additional mediation time. Under this program, each party would be responsible for the first hour of mediation, which is $375.
“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.”
The Real Estate Branch, as part of the Professional and Vocational Licensing Division, assists the Real Estate Commission in carrying out its responsibility for the education, licensure and discipline of real estate licensees; registration of condominium projects, condominium associations, condominium managing agents, and condominium hotel operators; and intervening in court cases involving the real estate recovery fund.