A property dispute is a legal dispute concerning real estate. It can involve landlords and tenants, homeowner neighbours, property owners and local authorities, homeowner associations, family members, builders, trespassers, and a variety of other participants. Property disputes can revolve around anything from small disagreements about fence lines to major problems like mortgage foreclosures.
Here are some examples of common property disputes:
- Boundary disputes
- Landlord-tenant disputes
- Zoning issues
- Homeowner association responsibilities
- Ownership disputes
There are generally two paths you can take to solve a property dispute: litigation through the court system or mediation through alternative dispute resolution.
What is property dispute mediation?
Mediation is a form of complaint resolution in which a trained, neutral third party guides face-to-face communication between contending sides, bringing them together with a trained, certified mediator to find a mutually satisfactory resolution.
More than simply "talking it through", mediation finds the root of the problem. Rather than having both sides hire opposing lawyers, one trained professional runs the mediation sessions. This person remains impartial and non-judgmental as both sides air their grievances.
By paraphrasing and reframing the matters, the mediator can help participants find common ground in property disputes, restoring civility and communication, even when one party exhibits antisocial behaviour.
Why use mediation for property disputes?
Mediation is one of the most common ways to resolve property disputes, because it leads to an outcome that is beneficial to both parties. Below are the top reasons to use mediation for property disputes instead of engaging in traditional litigation:
- Mediation is non-adversarial – As opposed to the court system, in which a judge determines winners and losers, mediation is about the two parties working together. Instead of having "guilty" and "innocent" parties, everyone is on an equal footing working towards a mutually agreed upon resolution.
- Mediation is confidential – Whether the dispute is residential or commercial, the last thing a business, community, or local government wants is potentially embarrassing public coverage of the disagreement. Unlike with litigation through the court system, property dispute mediation is completely confidential and private.
- Mediation is less costly and takes less time – In addition to being public, using the courts can also be very costly and time consuming. Instead of hiring expensive lawyers and facing constant delays, mediation brings both parties together to communicate face to face, greatly expediting the resolution process.
- Mediation helps maintain current relationships – Particularly when it comes to homeowner disputes, it is very important that relationships are maintained or repaired. By allowing all parties to be heard and reaching a satisfactory outcome, property dispute mediation can solve the issue as well as allow all participants to see both sides of the disagreement and reestablish an amicable relationship.