In order for a party to initiate alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”), the party is required to serve on the other parties to the dispute a “Request for Resolution” pursuant to Civil Code Section 5935. The Request for Resolution must include all of the following items of information:
- A brief description of the dispute between the parties; (Civ. Code § 5935(a)(1).)
- A request for ADR; (Civ. Code § 5935(a)(2).)
- A notice that the party receiving the Request for Resolution is required to respond within thirty (30) days of receipt or the request will be deemed rejected; and (Civ. Code § 5935(a)(3).)
- If the party on whom the request is served is the member, a copy of Article 3, of Chapter 10 of the Davis-Stirling Act (a copy of Civil Code Sections 5925-5965). (Civ. Code § 5935(a)(4).) However, even if an association does not entirely satisfy this requirement and a lawsuit is ultimately filed by the association, it may not provide grounds to dismiss the lawsuit unless the association’s failure to provide the member with copies of the ADR Code Sections results in prejudice to the member. (Ryland Mews HOA v. Munoz (2015) Cal. App. 4th 705, 710-711.)
Method of Service
The Request for Resolution must be served by personal delivery, first-class mail, facsimile transmission, or “other means reasonably calculated to provide the party on whom the request is served actual notice of the request.” (Civ. Code § 5935(b).) Once the Request for Resolution is validly served, the party on whom the Request for Resolution is served has thirty (30) days to accept or reject the request; if the party does not respond within that timeframe, the Request for Resolution is deemed rejected. (Civ. Code § 5935(c).)
- 30 Days to Accept Request for Resolution – A party on whom a Request for Resolution is served has thirty (30) days following service to accept or reject the request. (Civ. Code § 5935(c).) If the party does not accept the request within that period (or simply fails to respond), the request is deemed rejected by that party. (Civ. Code § 5935(c).)
- 90 Days to Complete ADR – If the party on whom a Request for Resolution is served accepts the request, the parties are required to complete ADR within ninety (90) days after the date the acceptance was received, unless the period is extended by written stipulation signed by both parties. (Civ. Code § 5940(a).)
Effect on Statute of Limitations
If a Request for Resolution is served before the applicable statute of limitations has run for commencing an enforcement action, the statute of limitations is tolled:
- During the the thirty (30) day period for a response a Request for Resolution, (Civ. Code § 5945(a).) and
- If the Request for Resolution is accepted, during the the ninety (90) day period to complete ADR, including any extension of time for completing the ADR that is stipulated to by the parties. (Civ. Code § 5945(b).)
- Civil Code Section 5950. Certification of ADR Efforts.
- Civil Code Section 5945. ADR Effect on Statute of Limitations.
- Civil Code Section 5940. Time to Complete ADR Process; ADR Costs.
- Civil Code Section 5935. Request for Resolution to Initiate ADR Process.
- Civil Code Section 5925. “Alternative Dispute Resolution” (ADR) and “Enforcement Action” Defined.
Related Case Law
- Ryland Mews Homeowners Association v. Munoz
(2015) 234 Cal.App.4th 705
[Architectural Control; Nuisances; Hardsurface Flooring] A HOA has the authority to place restrictions on the type of flooring that may be installed in a homeowner’s unit in order to prevent the creation of nuisances.