When it comes to living in close proximity with others, conflict is inevitable. It’s not always the big things that lead to the biggest conflicts either, over time even the smallest of issues can explode into a huge fight.
“The sources of conflicts are generally things like noise, odor and pet complaints. The most common are noise complaints, and they are the most difficult ones,” says Michael P. Graff, a mediator with the New York City Bar Association’s Co-op and Condo Mediation Project, and principal of Graff Law Offices.
It’s not only noise complaints. Arguments over whose responsibility it is to maintain and repair common areas, and if it should be done or not, also turn into conflict. Dealing with such conflicts in association housing, be it a co-op or condo, is inevitable, but there are ways to help manage and defuse conflict.
“Most of the times these cases are litigated, but that’s wrong. They should be mediated because litigation just adds to the fees and mediation is private, confidential and fast,” says Graff.
There are a few different organizations that offer mediation services in New York City. One of which is the New York City Bar, but another is the New York Peace Institute, which offers free mediation services.