As a mediator I was assigned a mediation between Landlord and Tenant, over a dispute involving the security deposit. The landlord had taken a larger amount of the security deposit and the case ended up in court.
Legal disputes between landlords and tenants have gained a reputation for being almost and strained and emotional as divorce court.
Many disputes are unnecessary and could be avoided.
In this case, Landlord had used a property manager, and no move in or move out inspections were completed.
In the mediation it was apparent communications between all parties had broken down, including the property manager.
Questions about worn carpet, a room with no heat, a room that had been painted for a baby's room, cost that were deducted filled the room in the 2.5 hour dispute.
The lesson to be learned in this heated exchange, that if the property manager had used an initial Move In Check List and had been copied to the landlord and in the end when tenant requested a Move Out Inspection, the manager should have completed this task, much of this dispute would have been avoided.
In addition it is the wise Landlord who will invest in knowledge of Rights and Responsibilities of Landlord Tenant Law in California.
It is also prudent, that tenants know their legal rights.
One good source for both Landlords ad Tenants is the Nolo Series http://www.Nolo.com, you can order these online, buy them at your favorite bookstore, or often find them at your local Law Library.
For the real estate community Move In and Move Out Inspections forms are available via the California Association of Realtors.
In the end the parties reached a settlement in Mediation.
Jim W Hildreth-Mediator-Referee- Arbitrator