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Use MCLA to Avoid Expensive Eviction Litigation


by: Robert M. Cohen, Esq.


Effective March 31, and August 2, 2023 the two most powerful eviction moratoriums expired. For the prior 3 years, tenants in LA County could not be evicted by landlords for non-payment of rent; And past due rents in LA County for the time frame March 2020 to September 2021 did not have to be paid. That has now changed.

Attorneys representing both tenants and landlords are predicting a dramatic upswing in unlawful detainer actions throughout the remainder of 2023, as it is estimated that In Los Angeles City and County, nearly 200,000 tenants owe more than half a billion dollars in unpaid rent.

An eviction proceeding for a tenant, with the possibility of losing one’s home, is one of the most stressful events one can ever experience.

When facing an eviction, a tenant has three real choices:

  • Either attempt to pay rent and/or cure any breaches of the lease;
  • Litigate and have one’s day in court with the risk losing one’s home, or
  • Mediate the dispute.

For both tenants and landlords Mediation can be an excellent alternative to trial. MCLA mediators are experienced attorneys, knowledgeable in landlord-tenant law, real property law, and leasing disputes. MCLA mediators act as a neutral third party to resolve disputes between residential and commercial landlords and tenants — in order to reach an acceptable and confidential settlement agreement between the parties.

The agreement can be very simple:

  • whereby the parties agree to a date by which the property will be vacated, or,
  • very complex involving payment plans, curing of defaults and dismissal of the legal proceeding.

Mediation is far different than trial. Skillful MCLA mediators lead the parties through negotiations based upon the law, the facts, and the needs of the respective litigants. Oftentimes, landlord-tenant disputes arise over misunderstandings that can be resolved by creative negotiation and the sort of communication that a trial judge will not allow at trial. Mediation gives the parties the opportunity “to talk freely” about the issues and to craft creative solutions.

Generally, mediation is shorter and less expensive than going to trial. Many times –but not always– mediation can help the parties preserve the existing landlord-tenant status by allowing the parties to actively engage in the decision-making process and by helping the parties cultivate peaceful relationships and a better understanding of each other.

In deciding how to respond to an unlawful detainer lawsuit consider engaging MCLA Mediation Services. The choice is yours. You and/or your counsel can litigate or seek alternative dispute resolution through the Mediation Center of Los Angeles. Mediation permits tenants and landlords the flexibility of considering and discussing issues and facts that may not be relevant at trial, including the unique experiences of each side during the Covid Pandemic.