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Los Altos Dispute Resolution Services (LADRS) helps resolve community conflicts through conciliation and mediation without the need to involve the police department, city staff, or the court. This dispute resolution service helps resolve issues between neighbors, tenants and landlords, roommates, clients and small local businesses, co-workers, or organizations in the community. Parties participate on a voluntary basis and give up none of their legal rights to resolve the matter in court.
Los Altos Dispute Resolution Services (formerly LAMP, Los Altos Mediation Program) was initiated in February 1995 following the training of over a dozen mediators. As of 2006, LACF contracts with Project Sentinel to administer the Los Altos Dispute Resolution Services, still using six of the original community mediators as volunteers for resolving community disputes. LADRS is managed by a board.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary process in which a neutral third party, the mediator, helps the disputing parties come together to talk about the issues at hand in a calm, organized way . In the process of doing so, possible resolutions arise and the mediator guides the participants toward a final agreement of their own making. The mediator does not give legal advice, voice opinions, or decide who is right or wrong.
What Happens when I call LADRS?
Once the case manager receives a request for mediation, she will send an invitation letter to the other party and will follow up with a phone call to address any questions or concerns the other party may have. Once parties agree to mediate, she assigns two co-mediators to each case. The meetings are scheduled at a time and local site that is convenient to the parties.
The mediators guide the participants toward a resolution of their own making. The resolution is summarized in writing by the mediators and signed by the parties. The parties have the option to decide whether the agreement will be confidential or whether it can be disclosed or enforced in court.
Who are the Mediators?
The mediators are professionally trained in the process of effective communication and mediation. They live in our local community and come from many different professions and backgrounds. The mediators all subscribe to the principle that people will best resolve their differences in a supportive, non-threatening environment.
The staff of the administrative office are professionally trained in communication and mediation skills and also provide general information and counseling by telephone to residents and property owners about tenant/landlord and neighbor rights and responsibilities.
|Effective||Most cases that enter mediation are resolved. Mediations have a success rate of about 80%. Once the parties reach an agreement of their own choosing, they comply with its terms in more than 95% of the cases.|
|Neutral||Mediators are impartial, and they do not impose decisions on the parties.|
|Confidential||All statements during the mediation are confidential and cannot be used against a party in court.|
Advantages of Mediation:
- Parties have an opportunity to meet face-to-face in an informal, confidential setting, at a convenient time, place and date
- The discussion is facilitated by trained, neutral mediators who encourage both parties to discuss their concerns and consider options for resolution.
- Settlements are based on the voluntary choice of the parties. Mediation will not impose terms or force parties to come to agreement.
- The process treats parties with dignity and allows them to resolve disputes on their own terms. It offers an alternative to going to court or doing nothing.
- If participants can’t resolve their conflicts in mediation, or if one of the persons involved refuses to take part in the meeting, the dispute can still be brought before the court.
Don’t Take our Word for it:
The program evaluations from parties participating in mediation are overwhelmingly positive:
“I don’t know how I would have been able to get this taken care of without the help of the Dispute Resolution Program. Thank You!”
“The process cut right through the BS and made parties focus on the real issue at hand. Thanks to the caring mediators we were able to resolve a long standing conflict.”
“I did not know where to go with my problem. I feel extremely fortunate there is still help out there.”
Cases we’ve successfully handled:
A landlord and tenant disagree over cleaning and damage charges deducted from a security deposit.
A neighbor’s dog barks late into the night and has also caused damage to the common fence.
A couple has a dispute with a local merchant regarding a purchase.
Neighbor issues with trees/sight lines and fence lines/replacement.
A consultant claims a business owes her additional fees for work performed on a project.
Who Can Use the Dispute Resolution Services?
Any resident or property owner in Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, and the adjacent unincorporated area, as well as businesses in the area can use the dispute resolution services.
What Does it Cost?
All services are free to parties. Mediation is arranged to fit the schedules of the parties, and are faster and less stressful than other options, such as court.
Where Does it Take Place?
Mediations are held in the Los Altos Community Center or the Neutra House (both on Hillview Avenue, Los Altos) or another convenient local site.
What kind of mediation cases does LADRS handle?
The dispute resolution service helps resolve issues between neighbors, tenants and landlords, roommates, clients and small local businesses, co-workers, or organizations in the community.
Where do I call for information on the Los Altos Dispute Resolution Services?
Call: 650-949-5267, or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
All services, including the telephone conciliation and information service, are confidential and at no cost.
LADRS is a program of the Los Altos Community Foundation
Funding assistance is provided by:
The Police Department of the City of Los Altos, and the Town of Los Altos Hills