Anderson Kill Launches Co-op and Condo Mediation Center

Co-Op, Condo & Real Estate Advisor

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PUBLISHED ON: October 24, 2018

Anderson Kill is pleased to announce the launch of the Anderson Kill Co-op and Condo Mediation Center, located in our offices in New York.

In representing co-op/condo boards and co-op residents for 40 years, our co-op and condo practice group has witnessed too often the cost in time, aggravation and money triggered by residential disputes that escalate into a court fight. That is why Anderson Kill shareholder and trained mediator Deborah Koplovitz, who has been practicing in co-op and condo law for 12 years, founded the Mediation Center, and is joined by mediators and experienced litigators, Linda Gerstel and Kanishka Agarwala.

We formed the Co-op and Condo Mediation Center to help residents, boards, owners, managers and tenants de-escalate conflicts and achieve harmonious resolutions at a fraction of the cost of litigation. In addition to resolving current conflicts, mediation can help promote future harmony and improve communication in buildings when new issues arise, because the winner/loser polarity has been eradicated.

What kind of disputes are best suited to the Co-op and Condo Mediation Center?

While we can handle many types, those that are normally best suited for mediation are those where the parties may know one another or have a continuing relationship, and:

  • Direct communication between the parties has stalled or has been difficult.
  • Pesonal or emotional conflict has impeded a resolution on their own.
  • Settlement is preferred by the parties over expensive, uncertain and time consuming litigation.
  • Mediation is preferred by the parties over placing the dispute into the hands of a third party.

Typical disputes we might mediate include noise or other lifestyle conflicts between neighbors, or issues between shareholders/unit owners and the board concerning house rules, non-payment, smoking, pets, behaviors, and more.

What can I expect during the mediation process?

If you and one of your neighbors or you and your board are embroiled in a dispute, you may contact our center. If the other side has reached out to us, you may be contacted by one of our intake personnel.

After that initial intake by our administrative staff, a mutually convenient date for mediation is selected, and the parties meet with the mediators on that date for the first time.

Our center is different from most in that we offer the parties two mediators to hear and help resolve the dispute. The mediators, who remain impartial throughout, meet with both sides in the same room, and each party is permitted an initial period of uninterrupted time to explain the issue from their perspective. During this initial period, you may find that you learn information about your neighbor or board that you did not know before, and as the mediation progresses, each side will continue to share information with the mediators and the other party. This sharing of information is key to initiating progress toward a resolution, which is crafted by the parties, not the mediator.

If the parties wish, the mediators can meet with each side separately to discuss matters of particular concern to one side or the other. Those discussions, like the rest of the mediation session, are completely confidential. Unless one side wants the other to hear what was discussed privately with the mediators, that information will not be shared.

Can you assist with all types of cases?

For now, our mediation is limited to issues involving your housing, and in particular, issues with your co-op or condo apartment. We do not mediate cases involving physical injuries, acts of violence, other police matters, or cases already in court.

Aside from speed of resolution and cost, what are the benefits of mediation?

Because the parties in mediation are directing the discussion, listening to and learning from one another, and do not leave the decision-making to a judge or jury, the agreements made in mediation tend to last longer and be more effective.

Mediation also often better preserves the relationship between parties, as opposed to the “everyone loses” feeling parties are often left with after an in-court settlement. This is a win-win for all, especially in cases where the parties will continue to be neighbors for years to come.