1. How is mediation initiated and what is the process?
The initiating party is required to complete Form RM, Request to Mediate, pay a $400 filing cost and follow the steps outlined in Begin the Process. The other party(ies) to the mediation may submit Form RRM, Response to Request to Mediate with Form RM as part of the initial submission or directly to the mediator thereafter. Once Form RM is received with the $400 filing cost, the matter is referred to the initiating party’s first choice mediator who will have three business days to accept/decline the mediation. The initiating party is provided with a confirmation of the assignment and the mediator’s full contact information. Once accepted, the mediator generally has 20 days to schedule the mediation. All mediations are expected to be held within 60 days of their assignment to the mediator.
2. How are mediators chosen by the parties?
An overview of each mediator and their fees and policies is available for review and selection by the parties. We ask that the initiating party select a first and second choice mediator (in case of conflict or other inability of first choice mediator) or request that one by assigned to them by the Center. When assigned by the Center, factors such as geography and current and previous case volume will be considered.
3. What types of disputes can be mediated by the Center?
Almost any type of dispute between or among buyers, sellers, brokers and other parties to a real estate transaction can and should be mediated. These include, among other common disputes, those related to earnest money deposits, cost of repairs where there is an allegation of a failure to disclose a known defect and claims for damages associated with a claim of misrepresentation about the condition of the property.
4. Does the Program accept mediation applications for all real estate disputes?
Each application is carefully reviewed by the Center and mediator. In some instances, either the Center or mediator may determine that the subject of the dispute to be mediated involves extremely complex legal issues, allegations of criminal misconduct or violations of state licensing laws that may not be appropriate for mediation at the Center. In the rare case that the Center declines you’re a request to mediate, all filing fees of the parties are refunded. In addition, disputes between REALTORS® that are subject to arbitration or a hearing before a REALTOR® Professional Standards panel will not be mediated at the Center and will be referred to a local association of REALTORS®.
5. What costs and fees are permitted and how are mediation fees collected?
There is a non-refundable filing cost to the parties to the mediation of $400 to be paid directly to the Center to initiate the process. Mediator hourly fees are separate and payable directly to the mediator. Center mediators agree to a mediator fee of $175.00 per hour maximum for the first 2 hours of hearing time. Thereafter the parties will be charged for hearing time at the mediator’s published hourly rate or as otherwise agreed to in writing by the mediator and parties. The parties are required to commit to three hours of mediation time. All mediator fees are billed by the mediator and paid directly to the mediator by the parties. Except as noted above, each mediator establishes his/her own rates.
In addition, Center mediators provide scheduling, local travel and preparation time without charge for up to two hours and charge their hourly rate thereafter. The parties and their counsel should be encouraged to independently coordinate their availability to avoid incurring excess fees. Mediators should always provide the parties with notice of any anticipated additional fees, such as for complex disputes, disputes arising out of an agreement that is not a C.A.R. standard form agreement, or disputes that require extensive review of documents in advance of the mediation.
6. How long does the process take?
In almost all cases, the mediation conference will be held within 60 days from the date the Center accepts the parties request to mediate. The typical mediation conference lasts from between 3 to 4 hours and a second conference is rarely needed. The parties are required to commit to a minimum of 3 hours of mediation time to ensure sufficient time for the mediation process to be successful.
7. What are the mediator panel experience and education requirements?
In general, we seek experienced mediators with significant real estate dispute expertise. Mediators are required to be either attorneys in good standing or real estate licensees with a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college. Center mediators must have received 32 hours of general mediation training and attend C.A.R. real estate focused training. Mediators interested in applying for the Center panel should email their request to email@example.com.
8. Which services are Center mediators required to provide?
In addition to compliance with all Center Rules and Regulations for Mediators, mediators are required to provide the following services as part of their participation in the Center program:
• All invoicing and collection of mediation fees ($175 for the first two hours and mediator’s hourly rate thereafter), including any required deposits
• All scheduling matters with the parties and participants to the mediation
• Any notices, forms and policies beyond the Rules and Policies for Consumers provided by the Center (optional samples are provided by the Center as a courtesy)
• Identifying and securing a suitable facility to host the mediation
• Maintain professional liability insurance coverage for their mediation activities
• Participate in annual training and period teleconferences (up to four hours annually)
9. Who do I contact for more information?
Email the program administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a panel application or for all other inquiries. Thank you.