Practice Pointers: Use Mediation to Resolve Landlord/Tenant Disputes
Mediation is an excellent option for anyone involved in a landlord/tenant dispute. This form of alternative dispute resolution can help parties in these cases save enormous time and money.
Mediation is an opportunity for the parties in a case to meet with a trained facilitator for the purpose of working out a resolution to the problem. More and more, trial courts have staff mediators available to assist the parties, with some courts (such as Northern Housing Court) requiring parties to meet with a mediator before seeing the judge. In a mediation, parties are encouraged to freely discuss their case and attempt to come up with a mutually agreeable resolution.
Mediation is a great option in landlord/tenant matters because trial courts are overflowing with cases, especially on summary process day. It is not unusual for a judge to have a caseload of up to fifty landlord/tenant cases in a single session (Boston Housing Court reportedly has 150 new cases filed each week!). Through mediation, many of these disputes can be resolved without the need for a lengthy hearing or trial.
Best of all, mediation is confidential and risk free; parties can still go before the judge if they cannot workout the problem. With this in mind, mediation should be the first step in trying to resolve a landlord/tenant dispute.