What is IDR with my HOA and What Does It Mean To Me?

IDR in the homeowners association realm stands for “Internal Dispute Resolution” and is often also referred to as “meet and confer”. It is one process that is embodied in California law that gives an owner the opportunity to meet with the Board or some of the Board members to try and resolve a dispute. The law says that a  board must meet with an owner who requests IDR. The statute number is and the law says (the part about the board being required to meet):


A fair, reasonable, and expeditious dispute resolution procedure shall at a minimum satisfy all of the following requirements:

(a)  The procedure may be invoked by either party to the dispute. A  request invoking the procedure shall be in writing.

(b)  The procedure  shall provide for prompt deadlines. The procedure shall state the maximum time for the association to act on a  request invoking the procedure.

(c)  If the procedure is invoked by a  member, the association shall participate in the procedure. (THE BOLD IS  MEANT TO EMPHASIZE THIS REQUIREMENT IMPOSED BY LAW.)

(d)  If the procedure  invoked by the association, the member may elect not to participate in the procedure.  If the member participates but the dispute is resolved other than by
agreement of the member, the member shall have a right of appeal to the  association’s board of directors.

(e)   A resolution of a dispute  pursuant to the procedure that is not in conflict with the law or the  governing documents binds the association and is judicially enforceable.  An agreement reached pursuant to the procedure  that is not in conflict with the law or the governing documents, binds the  parties and is judicially enforceable.

(f)    The procedure  shall provide a means by which the member and the association may explain their  positions.

(g)   A member of the association shall not be  charged a fee to participate in the process.”

The Board can adopt a process for meeting with a board member or any or all of the board members. It can use a facilitator and arrange a mediation, or simply “meet and confer” with the member.

Here are a couple of questions that I received recently from a reader:

First, if I request IDR, do I have the right to meet with a board member minus
the property manager, since the problems are with him?”

An owner can and should ask to meet with the board and without the property manager if that is the subject of the dispute. I would hope the board would not hide behind the property manager and say no to the request.  However, I have certainly seen situations where the owner who wants the meeting is the scary person and in that case, the board and manager  may want to meet in a safe setting and not in someone’s unit or the manager’s office. (I am thinking a public place like a meeting room at Pizza Hut or a Starbucks with a separate room. These are locations where boards have met who do not have clubhouses on site.)

Second, if the  problems aren’t resolved thru IDR and I request ADR, does association have the right to refuse ADR?”

The Board is not required to participate in ADR. The problem for either party that declines ADR is that that refusing to agree when asked to participate in ADR (alternative dispute resolution meaning mediation or arbitration) to resolve a homeowner association dispute jeopardizes the association’s or owner’s (who refuses it) ability to recover fees if there is litigation and the party prevails.



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3 Responses to What is IDR with my HOA and What Does It Mean To Me?
  1. Karen Stocke
    December 8, 2011 | 7:22 pm

    I am a homeowner (920 unit Senior Planned Development, Oceanside, CA) and the Board decided we are no longer a CID in 2005. They just called me to a Hearing because I had sent emails regarding law violations by the Board, last summer. They had to ask their attorney because they also became self-managed. They are charging me $3600 for their attorney bills. Can they hold a hearing since we are not subject to Davis-Stirling law? Does Corp. Code allow for Hearings – judge and jury – at Executive Board Meetings? I could not find anything on this in any law except Davis-Stirling.

    • Beth Grimm
      December 31, 2011 | 2:54 am

      I of course do not know whether things were done properly, but I can respond that the Corporations Code has statutes that address disciplinary action such as suspending membership rights (Corporations Code Section 7341). You can find the law at http://www.ca.gov – navigating to the 29 California Codes.

      As for the right to demand that you pay the association’s fees, the analysis to find out whether they are justified would require attorney review of the situation as there would have to be some authority in the restrictions on the deeds or in the law for your type of development, whatever it is, in order to make a legal demand.

      You can pay the fees under protest and challenge the board’s assessment of them against you in small claims – however, there is little point in going there without some reasonable basis for challenging them. And if you file a small claims action without paying anything, it is very possible the hearing officer would dismiss your complaint finding no “damages”.

    • Beth Grimm
      February 24, 2012 | 6:09 am

      I have no idea whether the board has any authority to do what it did without reviewing the governing documents. But if you feel you did not get a fair opportunity to defend yourself or dispute the charges before the board you could pay under protest and challenge the Board in small claims court. Short of that assistance of an attorney might help. But it would probably cost you at least $500 to get a review and letter written to the board. (Don’t shoot the messenger!)