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'Oh dear' we have a problem.

The home is nice, the grounds are great, you get on with most of the people really well, but then a problem  arrives, perhaps its that hedge that is trying to touch the moon, or someone has got a peculiar idea as to where your boundary has suddenly moved to. Perhaps its a rule you didn't realize existed or is being re-interpreted in a way that you do not like, perhaps its rules not being enforced.

From time to time problems will arise, particularly when people from different backgrounds meet. Often the disagreement will start about something minor and grow.

Clearly a well written agreement in plain English everyone can understand, and good drawings with full measurements and solid boundary markers will eliminate many of the problems that can come up. 

Within a community, arrangements for resolving problems are critical. You need a fast first stage, where nearly all problems can be quickly settled before they grow, this is often best done by the chairman of the community or some other person appointed by you all for that task. 

Another method that works in some communities is the use of champions, a person is chosen to represent each of the parties and goes off and negotiates on their behalf coming to a compromise. This one stage removed form of negotiation avoids conflict and introduces common sense, and avoids a person being branded the local judge, who may be felt to be biased.


You need a right of appeal, a form of arbitration that you all agree in advance you will stick to. This is far cheaper and faster than playing with the legal system, and also allows common sense and compromise to be involved as well as winners and losers.

The arbitrator should be someone you all respect, and is not involved in any way with your day to day operations or the finances of your site. Depending on the arbitrator you choose, you may need to pay a fee and expenses.

If your community is a New Atlantis Trust, we will undertake this role for you providing a person either from the New Atlantis Royal family or a member of the Independent Inquiry Society, who has no involvement, is absolutely fair, and able to handle people well. The cost to your trust will just be their expenses, accommodation, traveling etc, and we suggest this is covered out of the general maintenance budget as opposed to billing people involved in the conflict.

Remember the faster a problem can be solved, the less it will fester, and people take entrenched positions. As long as they accept the decision of the arbitrator is final it provides closure and they can again be friends getting on with their lives.

We suggest that this is well defined within the community agreement people sign before joining and moving in.