Landlord and Tenant Rights and Responsibilities Article


Frequently Asked Questions about Mediation

What is mediation?

Mediation is a voluntary and confidential way for people to resolve their disagreements. During mediation, people meet at a safe and neutral place to discuss their options for effectively resolving their problem. One or two mediators guide the process to help keep communication respectful.

Why should I try mediation?

Mediation can be an effective first step in trying to resolve a conflict. It saves time, money, and energy that might otherwise be spent tangled in a frustrating legal process. In mediation, people in conflict decide for themselves the solution that is right for them. Mediation helps people clear the air so they can preserve their relationship, which otherwise might be damaged if they went to court.

What situations can be mediated?

  • Neighbor issues: property-line disputes, animal noise, shared walls, trees
  • Landlord/tenant problems: money owed, payment plans, deposits, refunds, back rent
  • Family conflicts: decision making about care of aging parents or other family members, communicating with teens
  • Real estate disputes: earnest money, non-disclosure of damage
  • Small claims: property damage, money owed
  • Business issues: partner disagreements, client complaints
  • Employee conflicts: office issues, coworkers who don’t get along
  • Personal injury claims: auto accidents, premises liability
  • Domestic relations: divorce and child custody
  • Group decision making: neighborhood associations, community organizations, schools, clubs, boards of directors

What does a typical mediation look like?

Participants meet with one or two mediators, who explain the process and ask them to agree to some guidelines for respectful communication. Each participant will have an opportunity to share his or her side of the story, what the participant wants, and what he or she is willing to do to help solve the problem. The mediator(s) will listen and ask questions, making sure that the participants are clearly hearing and understanding each other. If the participants reach an agreement, the mediator(s) will help ensure that it is fair and specific.

Who are the mediators?

Mediators are a diverse group trained to be unbiased and neutral. They help people communicate effectively but do not take sides or review evidence.

Is mediation legally binding?

Participants create a written agreement and each receives a copy. Some agreements reached in mediations involving money, personal injury claims, business disputes, domestic relations, or real estate can be legally binding. Mediation agreements reached in other less formal disputes (such as animal noise complaints) may not be enforcible in court. Nonetheless, statics show that most of these informal agreements  remain in force long after they were entered into by the participants. 

How long does a mediation take?

Most mediations sessions are scheduled for two to four hours.

Who/what should I bring to the mediation?

Participants bring only themselves, though they may bring a spouse or partner who is affected by the problem as well. You may bring information such as logs or photos that you can use to help the other participant understand your point of view. Other people who might be helpful to the mediation may attend, but only with prior approval of both participants. Attorneys sometimes attend mediations arising from formal disputes. Where the disputes is more informal the participants normally represent themselves.

How much does a mediation cost?

It depends on the organization doing the mediation and the type of dispute between the parties. Private mediators generally charge an hourly fee. Mediation services offered through the court system or a community mediation service are often available for free or at a nominal charge.

I’m having a conflict with someone in another state. Can mediation be done via phone?

Yes, mediation services often can be provided via conference call or web-based video conferencing platforms.

Will the mediator discuss my case with anyone else (attorneys, law enforcement, case workers, etc.)?

The entire mediation process is protected by law as confidential. Except for unusual circumstances such as actual or threatened violence during the mediation, or evidence of abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult, mediators are prohibited by law from discussing your case with anyone without your permission. Mediators and their case files may not be subpoenaed without a court order. 


Contributing Attorney: Dan Westerburg is one of many volunteer mediators at The Center for Community Dialogue a program of Our Family Services in Tucson.


Comments:

QUESTIONS

  • I live in section eight house the state pays the rent every month but i only paid half of the deposit and paying monthly payments towards the remaining balance of the deposit can u get evicted from not paying deposit on time
  • We've signed a lease for 1 yr from July 15th, 2017 to July 15, 2018. Our owner is attempting to modify our lease agreement which states that our management office will collect any mail packages while we are absent. Now, they are threatening to charge us $7 a month to rent an on premise locker or we'll have to drive to our local post office to retrieve our mail packages. Is it legal to change the lease terms 4 months after we signed our Lease?
  • My roommate attacked me, she got arrested and i had to get a protection order against her. we found a new roommate to take over her part of the lease. but now her mom is coming after ME for her security deposit. even though the landlord has told her its still tied into the lease. What do i do? shes threatening to take me to court
  • Can a landlord install cameras outside the house I'm renting
  • I own my house and rent a lot in a "over 55" community. The driveway is a poor shape and I have asked management for several years for repair. Half of the driveways in the community have been repaired, and I have been told that the rest will be done shortly. That was three months ago! There are chips and holes in the driveway making a safety issue. How can I get them to uphold their responsibility? I do not want to move and just want them to provide the maintenance they are obligated to.
  • In june or july our gas was shut off due to non-payment. when a technician came to turn services back on he left a notice stating the waterheater was in unsafe condition and the light had not been lit. After consulting with Southwest gas, we were told NOT to light it ourselves under any circumstances. When we informed our landlord of this (via text message) he bombarded both my husband and I with vulgarity, and told us he wasn't fixing anything. In fact, he accused us of breaking it. We STILL have no hot water and I am now at the point where I am ready to sue. Need some guidance, please?
  • Hi. I own my home and established a month to month lease agreement with additional terms (requiring a 30 day move-out notice etc) with acquaintance for our spare room. She did give a two week notice and planned on moving out on the first of the month. She ended up staying 4/5days into the next month were no rent was collected. At this time a few belonging were left behind. She had inquired to pick these items up under short notice once. It has been 6 months now and I was asked if we still had her items and wanted to pick them up. Is she still entitled to these items?
  • My landlord seems to be blowing off some of my repair improvement requests on the house I'm renting. These requests include sealing the 3 doors to enter the house, open electrical outlets, the water heater makes the loud popping noises, insulation and overall sealing of the house. We get a lot of bugs inside, some of the wood post that hold up the carport are not secured to the roof. Even though the roof had been repaired before we moved in, there are still many spots around the house that are very visible, that it's obviously rotted wood. Am I allowed to renegotiate my rent?
  • How long is a landlord's notice of intent to enter good for? My landlord routinely gives notice of intent to enter by saying that they will be starting inspections on a certain date for the entire apartment complex, but it may take weeks for them to enter any given apartment. Is this legal behavior, or must they be more specific? It's getting annoying not knowing whether or not they came, or thinking they already have and then someone barges in weeks later.
  • My landlord turned off the air conditioning between Nov 2014 and March 2015. The ac is controlled per bldg. I read ARS 33-1364 and spoke to two different people at Neighborhood services. Both stated the management company violated the law because it is not stated in the lease that the ac will be cut off between Dates A & B. I am going to try to resolve this with them but I would like to ensure I am on solid ground.

STORIES

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  • He told me that I could actually get all the money I needed by using my home as collateral. . .

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