The art of amicable dispute resolution

The art of dispute resolution

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The art of amicable dispute resolution

Regardless of where you live, disputes are an inevitable part of communal living. Whether in a tranquil suburban street or within the confines of a body corporate community, conflict can arise, and while formal dispute resolution processes exist, there is a compelling case for seeking amicable resolutions.

In this article, we look into the art of amicable dispute resolution, examining its importance and providing practical steps to foster harmony in any living environment.

Why amicable resolution matters

Formal dispute resolution processes, while necessary in certain cases, can inadvertently escalate tensions that are detrimental to shared space living. In contrast, amicable resolution prioritises empathy, understanding, and mutual respect.

It recognises that, beyond the immediate issue, there are relationships to be preserved and a sense of community to be nurtured. When disputes are resolved amicably between residents, and without formal processes, it helps preserve the cohesive environment of the community, and we believe, is in the best interest of all owners.

Here’s how it’s done.

1. Open communication

The cornerstone of any healthy relationship is open communication. If an issue arises, approach your neighbour in a non-confrontational manner. Choose an appropriate time and place to discuss the concern and be sure to express yourself calmly and respectfully. Listening to their perspective is equally important, as it demonstrates a willingness to find a mutually agreeable solution.

2. Choose the right moment

Timing is crucial when addressing issues. Avoid approaching your neighbours during moments of stress or when they might be preoccupied. Instead, find a convenient time when both parties can talk in a calm and focused conversation. This demonstrates consideration for their schedule and shows that you value their time.

3. Seek common ground

Emphasise the shared interests and goals of the body corporate. This can help re-establish a sense of unity and mutual respect, and serve as a basis for finding a compromise that benefits all parties.

4. Propose practical solutions

Come prepared with practical solutions or suggestions. This will demonstrate your commitment to finding a resolution and show you are willing to take proactive steps toward addressing the matter.

5. Involve a mediator if necessary

In cases where communication has broken down or tensions are high, consider involving a neutral third-party mediator – perhaps someone from the body corporate committee. This person can facilitate discussions and help guide both parties towards a mutually acceptable solution.

6. Document the issue

Maintaining a record of the issue, including dates, times, and details of any conversations, can be invaluable if the situation is escalated to the body corporate committee or a formal complaint process.

7. Know the by-laws

Familiarise yourself with the by-laws for your particular body corporate. This document is the precedent by which all residents must follow, and with be an important basis for the discussion with your neighbour.

8. Keep emotions in check

It’s natural to feel frustrated or upset when dealing with neighbourly issues. However, it’s important to approach the situation with a level head and avoid escalating conflicts through heated emotions. Maintain a calm and composed demeanour throughout the process.

9. Be willing to compromise

Most issues will often require some degree of compromise. Consider alternative solutions and be open to finding a middle ground that accommodates both parties.

10. Know when to seek assistance

If you are unable to reach an amicable resolution, it may be better to avoid further aggravating the situation and seek the assistance of the body corporate, or the body corporate manager. Remember to always remain respectful and maintain the best interest of the community and its residents at all times.

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