April 2003 




Source: Renter's Rights-The Basics 2nd Edition

Attorney Janet Portman & Marcia Stewart 


Mediation in landlord-tenant disputes is fairly informal. More likely than not, the mediator will have you and your landlord sit down together. Each side is usually asked to discuss all issues they consider important-even emotional ones. This process of airing the entire dispute often cools people off considerable and can lay the foundation for a fairly quick compromise. 

If the dispute is not resolved easily, the mediator may suggest ways to resolve the problem, or may even keep everyone talking long enough to realize that the real problem goes deeper than the one being mediated. Typically this is helped along thro a process called caucusing., in which each side occupies a separate, private room, with the mediator shuttling back and forth with offers and counteroffers. When settlement appears near, everyone gets back together and mediator helps guide the parties to an agreement everyone approves. 

Many areas offer free or low-cost community mediation programs. The community group in our area is Dispute Resolution Center @ Catholic Charities of Herkimer County located @ 61 West Street, Ilion, New York: Telephone: 315/894-9917 for information. 

Many skeptics are surprised to learn that mediation does work. One big reason is the cooperative spirit that emerges. By agreeing to mediate a dispute in the first place, you and the landlord implicitly agree to solve your own problems. Also, the fact that no judge or arbitrator has the power to impose what may be an unacceptable solution reduces fear and defensiveness on both sides.


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This web page was updated on 03/31/2003.