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What is court mediation?

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute with assistance from legal services offices in Massachusetts
Created May 2017

What is court mediation?


Court mediation is a way for you and your landlord to work out an agreement that meets your needs and your landlord’s needs. Court mediation is voluntary, but many judges encourage it. If the court provides mediation, try it.

Court mediation is helpful if you do not want to negotiate directly with your landlord or your landlord’s lawyer. A mediator is a person who helps you and your landlord reach an agreement. A mediator does not take either person’s side. When you go into mediation be prepared to negotiate on your own behalf to protect your rights. You may have to wait to see a mediator.

Housing court mediators are called Housing Specialists. Some District Courts also have mediators. Make sure you are talking with the mediator, not your landlord’s lawyer. If they are the landlord’s lawyer, ask to speak to a mediator.

If you cannot reach an agreement in mediation, or you feel pressured to sign an agreement, do not sign it. Tell the mediator you want to see a Lawyer for the Day, if there is one, or a judge.

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