Carlos, the landlord, liked his tenants, Vernon and his family. Unfortunately, they’d lately had trouble paying the rent and had fallen several months behind. Carlos couldn’t afford to keep the house without their rent. Carlos knew he had to make some repairs before he could put the house on the market, and he had to get started soon. Carlos said he’d tried to be patient, but he just couldn’t afford to wait any longer. He filed for eviction – there was nothing more to discuss.
On the day of the court hearing, the judge asked Carlos and Vernon if they’d like to try mediation. They were willing.
The mediator asked each of them about their situation and what they needed. Vernon was able to express that he respected Carlos and that he was sorry he’d been unable to pay the rent these last few months. His work hours had been cut and his family had other expenses, and he just didn’t have the money. He’d told Carlos he was trying to find a cheaper place. He also realized that having an eviction on his record would make it even more difficult to find a new home.
The last thing Carlos wanted was to make it hard for his tenants to move out. He also realized that he was unlikely to see any money from the back rent – he’d settle for possession right away. Vernon had nowhere to go right away – he wanted a couple of months. Carlos couldn’t wait that long, although he appreciated how well Vernon and his family had always kept the place, and how Vernon had fixed little things that needed fixing, and done a good job.
The mediator guided the conversation toward the repairs: Vernon told Carlos that he could do all the repairs that Carlos had listed. From that point, Carlos and Vernon agreed on a list of repairs, and Vernon estimated how long it would take him.
The mediator helped them detail their agreement in writing. Vernon would move out in two months. During that time, he would complete the agreed repairs, with Carlos supplying all materials. Carlos would waive the back rent, which he thought was uncollectible anyway, and no rent would be due for the next two months. The eviction case would be dismissed, but Carlos could reinstate it if the agreement was not fulfilled.
Vernon got the two months he felt he needed, avoided an eviction order and a judgment against him, and maintained his self-respect in the eyes of his family. Carlos would be able to get started right away preparing the house for sale.
The judge approved the agreement, and both parties left the courtroom pleased with the result.