Sunday, April 22, 2007

Property Disputes Solved With Mediation

Property disputes can be resolved with less time and money through the use of mediation instead of drawn-out and expensive litigation. While some property disputes arise out of real estate purchase deals, other property disputes have more to do with property use. I mediate (and arbitrate) all types of property disputes and am called on about half of the time to mediate purchase-related disputes and half the time to mediate these other "property use" disputes.

Property use issues can include: adverse possession, boundary disputes, construction disputes, environmental contamination issues, landlord and tenant matters, and other "use" issues which can arise between a homeowner/landowner and neighboring landowners, a city, or a homeowner's association.

While real estate purchase agreements generally require mediation of any disputes (see prior post on that issue here), other property use disputes typically find their way to mediation or arbitration because of the financial cost and risks associated with court litigation.

Experienced attorneys as well as landowners, landlords, tenants, cities and HOAs also understand that there is often much more to property disputes than just who owes what to whom. Money might be a central issue in certain disputes, but there is usually much more to it than just money. More creativity is generally required to find solutions that will work for the parties' unique circumstances and disputes or that will improve the parties' ability to communicate and work productively together to find workable solutions.

Mediated solutions are not limited to the current dispute but also include figuring out how the parties can prevent and/or resolve future problems to avoid having to start down this path again. Such proactive solutions help the parties to reduce stress and monies spent in future disputes and therefore provide long-term cost savings to the parties as well as the mental health benefit!

These types of issues are not touched on - much less resolved - through the use of adversarial and contentious litigation. Mediation allows for the exploration of creative solutions that are more tailored to meet the specific needs of the parties than litigation allows for. And having the dispute resolved within weeks with mediation versus months or years with litigation is yet another great benefit!