Landlord Tenant Mediation (“UD” Mediation)
Landlord tenant mediation addresses the many issues that may come up between landlords and tenants. Landlord tenant disputes are labelled “UD” for unlawful detainer within the court system. A few scenarios are when the tenant has not paid rent and the landlord would like to evict them, it could be that the lease expired and the tenants have not left yet, or it could be that the owner would like to move into the home. Whatever the issue may be, mediation is always a great alternative for landlords and tenants to use instead of relying on the court system to make decisions for all the parties involved.
Tenant Disputes with Landlord
For tenants, mediation gives them the ability to make decisions and negotiate about the amount of time they need in order to find another place to live and also negotiate the back rent that is due or the amount of money they would like in order to move out. If a tenant were to lose in a trial, they would have an eviction on their record. If they settle it out of court, the eviction would not be on their record, allowing them to rent with future property owners.
For landlords, it can be extremely beneficial to mediate when there are landlord tenant disputes. Typically, when parties come to an agreement, the compliance rate is much higher than if a judge makes a ruling with which one side may disagree. In mediation, the landlord can resolve the issue with their tenants and get to an agreement about the outstanding issues.
“Alice was amazing! She helped us mediate a complex owner move-in with a tenant who was very resistant and unwilling to communicate with us. She dealt with me very professionally despite me being on edge and helped keep me relaxed throughout the (very short) process. At the end, we got a signed Judgement which all parties agreed to, which means we are legally entitled to move in to our property on the agreed upon date.
Honestly, you should contact Alice before talking to ANY lawyers! A lawyer will bill you 10 minutes for every email. Alice’s prices were very reasonable – don’t spend a dime on a lawyer until you talk with Alice.“
Landlord Tenant Mediation
In a UD mediation, the parties use a mediator and can either participate in a joint session, where everyone remains together, or they can break out into separate rooms and have the mediator go back and forth between the rooms. This is called caucusing or shuttle mediation. The parties may or may not have attorneys present. They sign a mediation confidentiality agreement prior to mediating. Neither side is allowed to bring up new facts which come to light during the mediation into trial, should they not settle.
Once the parties come to a resolution, a settlement agreement is drafted up and signed at the end of the mediation. This agreement is filed with the court and is legal and binding. If the agreement is broken, the parties can return to the court to help enforce judgment.
Mediation settles disputes
About 98% of UD cases settle in mediation. Parties can opt for landlord tenant mediation at any time of the conflict. They can request mediation before any type of legal action has been taken. This is probably the most ideal time to mediate, as it is the least contentious and stressful time in the conflict. Once any legal action is filed and court is looming, parties become increasingly stressed, worried or agitated. However, they may also request mediation any time from when the legal action has been filed until the day of court in some counties. Some counties provide free mediation services at the court house a day or two prior to their bench or jury trial.
As with any other mediation, both parties have to voluntarily agree to mediate or they cannot move into the mediation process. In some cases, a judge may order parties to attempt mediation before allowing them to go to trial. A judge may do this knowing that most cases will settle out of court. It is in the best interest of the parties to settle this during mediation, as they retain control of their own immediate futures.