Mediation is the preferred dispute resolution of the National Association of REALTORS®. The Tahoe Sierra Board of REALTORS® (TSBOR) has trained some members of the Professional Standards Committee to provide mediation services to association members and their clients.
Mediation is a voluntary process in which disputing parties meet with a neutral third party (the mediator) to create a mutually acceptable resolution of a dispute. Mediators are impartial facilitators of resolution; they do not decide innocence or guilt, give legal advice nor impose a decision on either party.
Mediation is an alternative to adversarial, expensive and time consuming litigation. It is non-adversarial, confidential, informal and inexpensive. Mediation is now widely recognized as a forum of choice for the resolution of conflicts and misunderstandings; it is where the parties control the outcome of a dispute.
If the parties agree upon a resolution of the dispute, the agreement is usually written as a legally binding contract which the parties sign. Parties do not forfeit their legal rights to arbitrate or litigate the dispute if mediation is unsuccessful.
The types of mediation services offered by TSBOR include the following:
Mediation Prior to Arbitration: By written agreement of both the complainant and the respondent to mediate prior to hearing of a filed arbitration, TSBOR’S mediators are used to assist the parties in finding a resolution to the dispute. A successful mediation cancels the need for an arbitration hearing.
Ethics mediation: Any party may request ethics mediation with TSBOR members by calling the Board and filling out the appropriate request form. Ethics mediation is an attempt to resolve a dispute before it becomes a written complaint and there is no charge for the service.
REALTOR®/Client Mediation: TSBOR offers mediation between a client and REALTOR® where specified by a contractual agreement such as the listing agreement. These are provided by paid mediators, who may or may not be members of TSBOR.
The very clear advantage of mediation is that the parties are in control of the final decision as opposed to arbitration where someone else will decide who wins and who loses.