Landlord-Tenant Mediation: Is it Right for You?
Mediation is a voluntary process in which people with a disagreement meet together with a trained, impartial mediator. The mediator listens to both sides and guides the parties in clarifying and discussing the issues, identifying areas of agreement, developing possible solutions, and writing their own mutually satisfying agreement.
It’s voluntary and everyone has a say. No one has to participate in mediation, and no one has to agree to do anything they don’t want to do. If participants are unable to come to an agreement, there aren’t any consequences.
It’s free. Small claims court filing fees are upwards of $100 with no guarantee of getting that back from the other party. There are also attorney’s fees to consider: both your own and the additional risk of paying the other party’s legal fees if you lose. If a landlord loses in small claims court, the tenant could also win double damages. On the other hand, a tenant may have to pay double the daily rent if they stayed past the lease end date.
It’s more inclusive. Unlike small claims court, mediation lets both sides tell their complete story and include this in the resolution.
It’s confidential. Unlike small claims court procedures, the mediation files are kept strictly confidential. Nothing goes on either party’s public record. Small claims court cases are public on CCAP.
What can you expect from landlord-tenant mediation?
Because mediation aims to find a mutually agreeable solution, you should consider what you might be willing to compromise on and what would be deal breakers. For example, If the problem is related to property damage, would you be willing to agree to a payment schedule to cover the cost of the damage? Alternatively, if the conflict is related to eviction proceedings, would you be willing to negotiate a timeline for the tenant to remedy the problem and vacate the property? In cases where mediation is optional, weighing potential options may also help you determine if the process makes sense for you.
Are the results from the mediation process binding?
The results from the mediation process are not binding. A mediator can neither make a decision for the mediation participants nor enforce it without the consent of the two parties in the process. Nevertheless, if both parties agree to make the mediation agreement binding, this can be done to create a contract, which would be enforceable in court.
If mediation is the right route for you, give Metropolitan Mediation Services in St. Louis, MO a call today!