Mediation vs. Litigation: Benefits for Tenant Landlord Disputes

By A.I. Adrinfo, Edited by Doug Katz – 05/01/23

Tenant landlord disputes are common, and they can quickly escalate into costly and time-consuming legal battles. There are other choices but people have been conditioned to think lawyer up and fight it out.  That can occur, but it can also be averted with a less acrimonious process that can save time, money, relationships and sanity.

Mediation can be an effective alternative to litigation that offers several benefits to both tenants and landlords.  If you’re not familiar with mediation, you’re not alone.  Mediation is a process where a neutral third party, called a mediator, helps people in a conflict to communicate with each other and reach an agreement. The mediator doesn’t take sides or make decisions for the parties involved, but instead helps them identify their needs and interests, explore options for resolving the conflict, and work towards finding a mutually acceptable solution. The goal of mediation is to help the parties find a resolution that satisfies everyone involved, without going to court or escalating the conflict further.

The benefits of this approach for real estate conflicts are significant, especially landlord tenant disputes. Except in the most extreme situations where the intent is to drag out a dispute in the courts to avoid eviction, these type of disputes have a good potential for a mediated outcome that benefit both the landlord and the tenant.

  1. Cost Savings One of the most significant benefits of mediation is cost savings. Litigation can be a lengthy and expensive process, with attorney fees, court fees, and expert witness fees adding up quickly. In contrast, mediation is typically a much quicker and less expensive process. The cost of mediation can vary depending on the mediator’s fees and the complexity of the case, but it is generally much lower than the cost of litigation. For example, the average cost of mediation for a tenant landlord dispute is around $1,000, according to the American Bar Association. In contrast, the cost of litigating a similar case can range from $5,000 to $15,000 or more.
  2. Control and Flexibility Another advantage of mediation is that it gives tenants and landlords more control over the outcome of their dispute. In mediation, both parties work with a neutral third-party mediator to reach a mutually acceptable resolution. Unlike in litigation, where a judge or jury makes the final decision, the parties themselves have more control over the outcome. This can result in a more creative and flexible solution that addresses the specific needs and concerns of both parties.
  3. Preservation of Relationships Litigation can be an adversarial process that can damage the relationship between tenants and landlords. In contrast, mediation is a more collaborative process that can help preserve relationships. Because both parties work together to reach a resolution, they may be more likely to maintain a positive relationship after the dispute is resolved. This can be especially important for landlords who want to retain good tenants or tenants who want to avoid damaging their rental history.
  4. Confidentiality Mediation is a confidential process, which means that the discussions and negotiations that take place during mediation cannot be used against either party in court. This can be a significant advantage for tenants and landlords who want to avoid public exposure of their dispute. It can also encourage both parties to be more open and honest during the mediation process, which can lead to a more effective resolution.

If you understand that mediation will not solve every landlord tenant dispute, but that is an effective alternative to litigation you get it. It can be a good first step that brings with it huge potential with very little risk.  Cost savings, control and flexibility, preservation of relationships, and confidentiality are just a few of the benefits of mediation. Remember, the actual costs of mediation can vary widely depending on the specifics of your case and the mediator you choose, so it’s always a good idea to do your research and consult with an attorney or mediator to get a better idea of what to expect.

Finally, you can find some great articles in our archives that cover how to select an appropriate mediator for the conflict as well as the temperaments of the participants.  I would highly recommend reading if you move ahead with mediation this article, we’ll explore the advantages of mediation for tenant landlord disputes, including cost savings and more.

Disclaimer: This article was created with the assistance of multiple ChatGPT AI language models and has been edited and refined by Douglas Katz. The information provided in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as professional or expert advice. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of ChatGPT or OpenAI. Readers are advised to do their own research and consult with relevant experts before making any decisions based on the information provided in this article.