Effective July 1, 2013, HOAs are required to consider voluntary mediation prior to any lawsuit being filed. Disputes over timely payment of assessments, fines or fees are not covered under this requirement. A homeowner or the HOA may initiate the mediation by contacting a mediator, who will then contact the opposing party. Either party may decline to participate, at which time the lawsuit may be filed. If the parties do agree to mediate, each party is responsible for one-half of the mediator’s fee and any information exchanged during the mediation is not admissible in a court proceeding.