As a businessperson, it is to your advantage to have a good relationship with your commercial tenants. Happy tenants are more likely to pay their rent on time and avoid causing any damage to your properties.
But when inevitable disputes arise with your tenants, it is important to keep the lines of communication open. That means listening to their complaints and concerns and being willing to seek common ground that can lead to a satisfactory resolution.
What happens if communications break down?
Not all situations can be resolved with conversations and good intentions. Your and your tenant’s aims can be so far apart that they are impossible to resolve in good faith. But court battles can be quite costly to wage and often neither party walks away satisfied with the decision handed down by the courts.
Is there a less expensive option to try?
Fortunately, there is. Alternative dispute resolution is often the least expensive and most expedient way to resolve disputes between property owners and their commercial tenants. A skilled mediator who has no affiliation with either party or stake in the outcome can work with both parties to facilitate a resolution that is acceptable to both.
How does it work?
A mediator can work independently with each party or with everyone at the same table. The goal is to reach an accord on the disputed terms or issues and agree on a viable solution. This can often be accomplished in a single session.
Are these agreements binding?
Mediators are not judges (although some former judges may become skillful and knowledgeable mediators) and mediation services are not courts that issue orders. Therefore, mediated agreements lack the teeth to be enforceable by the courts or law enforcement.
If mediation brings no resolution between the parties, the next step would be to have the dispute adjudicated in the civil court system.