Many landlord and tenant disputes can wind up in court. This often results in a lengthy, frustrating and costly process for landlords. Tenants may also feel the brunt of this process and may face significant consequences such as a lawful eviction and costs they cannot afford. Arbitration offers an alternative to this process.
It is a consensual, private and binding alternative to resolve landlord/tenant disputes. Unlike mediation, the arbitrator has the power to impose a decision on the parties. The process is confidential, so what is said during the process and the result usually cannot be revealed. Arbitration also offers greater authority to the parties who can decide how to structure arbitration, how much time the parties will each have to present their case and the extent of discovery. This provides greater control to the parties to determine how the process will work.
Arbitration may be required if there is a mandatory arbitration clause included in the lease. In these situations, the parties may waive their right to bring their disputes to court. If a party takes the case to court, the proceedings will usually be stayed so the parties can pursue arbitration.
Arbitration is becoming increasingly common in many communities to resolve landlord/tenant disputes. It is used to help parties resolve issues related to rent arrears, contract disputes, environmental issues, rent reviews, neighbor disputes and other issues that arise in the landlord/tenant context.
During arbitration, the parties present evidence, their own testimony and the testimony of other witnesses. After hearing both sides, the arbitrator makes a final ruling, or award. This award is typically binding and usually cannot be appealed.