Landlord-Tenant Mediation Program
Mediation is a process whereby a neutral third person called a mediator acts to encourage and facilitate the resolution of a dispute, in this instance, a landlord/tenant dispute, between two or more parties. It is an informal and nonadversarial process with the objective of helping the disputing parties reach a mutually acceptable and voluntary agreement. In mediation, decision making authority rests with the parties. The role of the mediator includes, but is not limited to, assisting the parties in identifying issues, fostering joint problem solving, and exploring settlement alternatives.
If you would like information about Florida's Landlord/Tenant Rights, click to read about it on the Legal Services of North Florida's website.
The City of Tallahassee Mediation Program will use Florida Supreme Court certified mediators. The mediation process is begun by the completion and submittal of a referral form to the City of Tallahassee, City Attorney's Office.
There are two ways to submit a referral form to the City Attorney's Office:
Landlords: If you would like to be included as a willing participant in this program, please visit our Landlord Participation Agreement Form and submit your information online.
How It Works
The landlord and tenant should come to mediation prepared to tell their version of what happened, prepared to listen to the views of the other side, prepared to clearly state their ideas for resolving the dispute, and willing to negotiate a settlement agreement that will be mutually satisfying for both sides, if possible.
The tenant and landlord representative who have the authority to make a binding decision attend the mediation.
Once the City receives a referral form from a party or referral agency, mediations will be scheduled as soon as practicable based on the availability of a mediator. Mediations are scheduled for a maximum of one (1) hour. If the parties are close to reaching agreement, mediation may be reconvened for another date for the additional time needed.
Pursuant to Florida Statutes, Sections 44.401-44.406, mediation communications are confidential. The only information that should be shared is that needed to effectuate reaching and processing a mediation agreement. Both parties are asked to respect the confidentiality of the process by not disclosing information that is discussed in the course of the mediation session. If an agreement is reached, the mediation agreement becomes a public record under Florida law.
Together, all participants list the issues that need to be resolved in order to reach settlement. These issues can be of concern to one or both parties.
In this step, you will be exploring interests and developing options that satisfy all or part of the interests to the parties to the dispute. You will be thinking of ways to craft a workable, mutually satisfactory solution or relationship for the future.
From time to time during the negotiation phase of the mediation, the mediator or the participants may decide that it would be beneficial for the parties to meet with the mediator separately. Discussions held in caucus are doubly confidential, that is, the mediator will not share those discussions with the other side unless specifically asked to do so.
Writing the Settlement Agreement
Once you have reached agreement on all or some of the issues being mediated, you and the other participants will draft a written settlement agreement. It is important to remember that this settlement must be satisfactory to both sides. The language of the agreement will be the participants', and you will need to pay particular attention to making it specific, so that your intentions will be clear.
Participants Sign the Agreement
The agreement once signed is considered to be final and is enforceable. You will receive a copy on the day the mediation is concluded. The City of Tallahassee will not participate in the enforcement of the agreement if you believe that it is not being followed. A party, in its discretion, may seek enforcement through standard legal channels.