The discord had persisted for several years and had resulted in a negative atmosphere. It also meant that some payments to the homeowners association were in arrears.
The majority and the minority’s attorneys had persuaded their clients to take the case to mediation before it ended in a lawsuit. Several meetings were held at the mediator’s office, while others were held with the individual parties. By agreement, the lawyers did not take part in the meetings.
Every time the parties got close to an agreement, one or the other refused to sign.
The meetings had shown that there was a lack of clarity about what the parties perceived as the physical conditions of the building. As a final attempt at reaching an agreement, a meeting was held at the building, to get a ’view of the case.’
On a beautiful late summer day, all of the parties met near the building. The mediator had asked both parties’ attorneys to be present. The mediator had asked both of the parties for permission to hold the meeting in their apartments, but both refused.
Instead, the mediator suggested that the meeting be held in the garden. The good weather, the beautiful surroundings and the input from the parties’ attorneys made it possible to discuss even the personal disputes behind the housing-related disagreements.
After a few hours in the hot summer sun, the parties reached an agreement that covered all the disputed points. Everyone enjoyed a well-earned cold beer under the fruit trees.