Landlord Eviction of a Widow
The landlord explained "we have come here for agreement. This mediation has saved time, there has been no fighting" - "or backbiting!" cheered the tenant - "yes, no backbiting, and it's saved legal fees. It's been very good." The 33 year relationship between the two began when the landlord told the tenant's husband he may live in the apartment at a set rate until death. The rent, held constant since the early 1980s, was now far below the market value of the property.
Regrettably, the husband passed, leaving behind a wife and children. The landlord requested that the widowed tenant begin paying market price as per the agreement. The grieving tenant was unable to pay the amount, and communication between the two broke down at a fundamental level. As such, an eviction was filed with the courts and referred to the Bangalore Mediation Center, where the mediator sought to bridge the communication gap between them. In three short sessions, the landlord and tenant came to an agreement that was mutually beneficial. Despite the communication breakdown, the landlord had always been empathetic to his friend's emotional and financial troubles. In mediation, he agreed to help the respondent by extending his 3 month offer to find a new home to 9 months (so that she may have one last December holiday to enjoy in the family home), 1 lakh towards its purchase (equivalent to nearly eight years worth of the tenant's previous rate), and leave the fourth floor of his property for her storage space. Without request from the tenant, the landlord additionally offered to pay for her electricity and water.
Once the mediator was able to facilitate discussion between the two of them and restore communication, the genuine goodwill between the parties became evident. Throughout the discussion each did their best to accommodate the other and to thoroughly explain their own feelings, opinions, and needs. Each took the opportunity to listen to the frustrations of the other, instead of communicating through counsel. They negotiated openly; not as opponents, but as acquaintances of 33 years. After signing the agreement, the tenant said that in the courts people are too interested in competing, often to their own detriment. "Parties can meet at a common point through mediation. They keep going parallel in the courts, trying to 'beat one another. Here, we can come together ... We'll still have a good relationship after this, there are no hard feelings."