Community mediation helps individuals resolve disputes constructively outside the court system. A mediator will act as an impartial third party to assist people in conflict in finding a mutually acceptable solution to their dispute. It is both voluntary and confidential.
What happens in Community Mediation?
Our highly experienced and state-certified mediators will work with participants to have a productive conversation around the issues and work towards a resolution that is satisfactory to everyone involved.
Examples of community disputes include those between or among:
- Neighbors- These types of disputes can involve a very broad range of issues such as property line issues, trees, shrubs, fences, parking, use and maintenance of driveways, pets and animals, cars, uses of the home and lot, noise and bright lights, party-walls, trash disposal, basketball hoops, homeowners associations, etc. For example, two neighbors in a dispute over a fence being built between properties can work through their disagreement in mediation and come to an agreement on research, cost and placement of the fence.
- Contract/Debt- There can be many situations that involve formal or informal contracts between parties that have not been satisfied. These often include financial agreements between friends or even a debt owed to another person or organization. Mediation allows for the creation of a payment plan or other imaginative means to satisfy both parties.
- Roommates- Issues such as sharing of facilities, responsibility for utility payments, noise and lifestyle differences are common in roommate disputes. One example would include a disagreement over responsibility of chores within the apartment. A mediator could help facilitate the conversation between the roommates to come up with a roommate agreement that satisfies both parties.
- Consumers/Merchants- Many relatively small disputes between consumers and merchants are not easily susceptible to settlement through the courts either because of the cost or the difficulty of implementing a court judgment. For example, a consumer might purchase a used car from an independent used car dealer or just someone selling their car. Shortly after purchase, the car blows a gasket. This is actually fairly typical for older cars, costing only a few thousand dollars. Both the seller and the buyer could be persons of limited financial resources. If they go to court neither may be able to collect on their judgment. The seller cannot readily refund the purchase price. In mediation parties can work out the kinds of solution beyond what the court can and are only limited by their imaginations.
- Landlords/Tenants- Frequent problems can arise with their tenants concerning such issues as return of the security deposit, responsibility for damage, presence of pets and additional people in the unit, care and upkeep of the property, relations with neighbors who may complain of noise, trash or other issues, etc. An example would include if a tenant and landlord were in disagreement over whether or not they would receive the deposit back after the tenant had moved out. Mediation can help open the lines of communication between tenant and landlord to come up with the best solution for the issue.
- Contractors/Homeowners- There are numerous issues that can arise between contractors and homeowners, including financial, time and management issues. An example of this being a homeowner who is a dispute with the contractor over the time it is taking to remodel their porch and the price. Mediation provides the opportunity for homeowners and contractors to be creative in their approach to an agreement.
How much does it cost?
We offer low-cost services on an adjustable, sliding scale to ensure that they are accessible to you. Please click here to see our sliding scale fee schedule.
How to get started:
All it takes is a genuine interest in resolving your dispute! Please complete and submit the following inquiry form or fax to (703) 246-8992. Our staff will review your request and contact you to answer questions and begin the intake process.