Provided by the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Program
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- Are you a tenant or a landlord of a Berkeley residence?
- Embroiled in a landlord - tenant dispute?
- Want the help of a neutral third party in resolving this problem?
- Interested in exploring whether a free, relatively quick, non-adversarial and informal process would work for you?
. . . Then consider using mediation services offered by the City of Berkeley's Rent Stabilization Program.
Mediation differs from the Rent Board's petition process, which is more formal and is limited in scope to matters such as the legality of rents charged or problems with the rental unit's condition.
Mediation can cover a much broader variety of topics, but both sides must agree to mediate. The process is voluntary. Likewise, any resolution requires the parties to agree; no decision is imposed on them. If no agreement is reached, the parties are free to pursue Rent Board or court remedies.
Typical issues or problems that can be addressed in mediation include, but are not limited to:
- Habitability Issues
- Security Deposit Disputes
- Noise Complaints
- Rent Ceiling Disputes
- Move-Out Agreements
- Lease Issues
- Relocation for Repairs
If parties have disputes involving issues appropriate for the Rent Board petition process but wish to resolve non-Rent Board issues as well, all matters can be dealt with in a single mediation. Even if Rent Board issues are not resolved, parties can have them clarified.
The mediation process greatly benefits those in an ongoing landlord-tenant relationship, as both parties are called on to participate in fashioning a mutually agreeable solution. This process fosters a better long-term relationship.
How does it work?
Call or visit our offices to speak to a Rent Board counselor. He or she can determine whether your case is right for Rent Board mediation. If it is, you will be asked to submit a one-page information sheet summarizing the disputed matters.
The Rent Board will then contact the other party and, if he or she is agreeable, schedule a date for the mediation that is convenient for both parties. Most mediations take place within two weeks from the date the parties agree to mediate. The mediation will take place at the Rent Board's offices.
The mediation will be conducted by a Rent Board staff member, who will listen to each party's concerns. The staff member will help the parties try to work out a mutually agreeable solution and develop ways to communicate more effectively. If an agreement is reached, it will be written up for the parties to sign.