Landlord Tenant Cases
Initial Appearances will be held telephonically. Landlords will receive a telephonic appearance notice with the conference call number/ID at the time of filing. Landlords will serve that form with the complaint and summons to the tenant. All parties will call into the conference line at their scheduled date/time.
The Mediation Program Coordinator will conduct an orientation to mediation, roll call, and ask parties if they are interested in mediation. If parties are interested in mediation, they will be given a different conference call ID to join the mediator telephonically. Parties will be instructed to attend the telephonic mediation immediately.
Mediation will continue to be in person with social distancing in conference rooms, all parties and the mediator will be required to wear masks, and all surfaces will be sanitized after each mediation. If parties are high risk, they may request, in writing, to appear telephonically.
Parties participating in a telephonic mediation will need to give verbal consent for the mediator to sign on behalf of hte parties on the consent/confidentiality form. This will be recorded on a digital recorder. This will aslo need to happen if parties come to an agreement. The verbal consent will be documented on both the consent/confidentiality form and agreement.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Mediation is a voluntary process wherein an impartial third person assists parties to discuss their perspectives of a dispute. The mediator does not give legal advice or make a decision for the parties. Instead, the parties are responsible for the decision and the mediator's role is to help the parties identify their concerns and to formulate a resolution which is mutually satisfactory.
Mediators are volunteers. To be a mediator, one needs to have good communication and language skills, an ability to remain impartial, and commitment to a collaborative approach for resolving conflict. Volunteer mediators have found their work to be very gratifying; and they also have found their new skills to apply beneficially in their personal and professional lives.
What are the benefits of mediation?
Mediation significantly reduces judicial caseloads; parties report high satisfaction and statistics show that parties are much more likely to perform terms of a mediated agreement than terms of a court judgment.
What qualifies a person to mediate?
There is no educational prerequisite to becoming a mediator nor is there any preference for occupational background. In order to qualify as a mediator there is an intensive 32 hour course in mediation skills and 6 hours of training in court procedures. Completion of this initial training qualifies the mediator for small claims cases. There is an additional 8 hour training for landlord-tenant cases. In addition, all of the mediators will have served an apprenticeship, observing mediations and conducting supervised mediations. Training is provided at no cost to volunteers, in exchange for a commitment to mediate two cases per month for one year.
How to volunteer:
Persons interested in becoming a mediator and volunteering in this program are invited to call the mediation coordinator.