Frequently Asked Questions

Frequent Landlord Questions

Saves money:

  • You save the costs associated with filing an eviction case that is likely to become contested (filing fees and attorneys’ fees)
  • You prevent the cost of advertising for a new tenant and making repairs or renovations to prepare the property for a new tenant
  • Your income remains steady without a lapse in rental income while trying to locate a new tenant
  • Mediated agreements, which are voluntary, are much more likely to be honored by both parties

Saves time/minimizes stress:

  • Avoid an eviction action which can take months of your time
  • Avoid time spent working with lawyers to resolve disputes between tenants and devote that time to growing your business
  • No time devoted to preparation for contested hearings
  • Avoids the uncertainty and stress of going before a judge
  • End your case with the certainty that you have an agreement in place

Mediation is a voluntary process, but we ask that landlords approach it with an open mind and a willingness to compromise. We do not require a financial commitment.

If an agreement is reached at mediation in a litigated case, we ask that the landlord agrees to dismiss the eviction action and seal the file if the tenant complies with his/her part of the agreement. There are no other “strings attached” for landlords.

  1. You can call us at (727) 582 – 7475 or reach out through the online portal.
  2. A Staff member will ask you for the name & contact information of your tenant, or alternatively, you can have your tenant reach out directly to us.
  3. An Intake Specialist will conduct an intake interview with your tenant.
  4. If mediation is advisable, we will schedule a remote mediation with one of our Contract Mediators. This mediation typically takes 30 minutes to an hour but can last up to two hours.

Our Staff may ask you for:

  1. Your driver’s license (to prove identity) and verification of settlement authority
  2. A copy of the lease with your tenant
  3. A statement, spreadsheet, or ledger of what your tenant owes to you and why they owe it
  4. A W-9 form (for rental assistance payments)

Mediation is a non-adversarial process in which a certified mediator speaks with both parties, listens to their concerns, and endeavors to negotiate an agreement between them. The mediator will clarify the issues, identify areas of agreement, and help develop possible solutions. The mediator is not on anyone’s side and won’t decide who is “right” and who is “wrong.” The mediator will not make a decision on your case, as he/she is not a Judge. Rather, the mediator helps both sides understand each other, brainstorms about solutions, and tries to help the parties reach an agreement to end their dispute.

In most mediations, the landlord and tenant will be in separate “breakout rooms” on Zoom. The mediator will go back and forth between the virtual rooms endeavoring to find common ground with you and your tenant. Mediation is confidential (with certain exceptions), so this means that neither you nor your tenant are to share any communications made during mediation with third parties.

If any agreement is reached, the mediator will generate it, and you and your tenant can sign it. If the case has been filed with the Court, this can be submitted to the Court to end the case. If the case has not yet been filed with the Court, this document becomes a binding contract between you and your tenant.

You will receive a Mediation Intake Form and Agreement to Mediation to complete. Please complete these forms and return to our office via email 24-48 hours before your mediation. These forms will ask you for a complete copy of the lease, a ledger of unpaid rent, and a statement of other issues you may be experiencing with your tenant. Please think ahead about possibilities for the resolution of your contested issues. The more prepared you are in advance, the easier and faster your mediation will be!

If an agreement is not reached at mediation, either party may pursue remedies available to them under the law. It is advisable for both parties to obtain advice from an attorney as to their rights under Florida law.

We encourage active negotiation even if mediation is not successful. You can negotiate an agreement up to the point of going to court, and even after going to court. An agreement can be reached at any point and you can always end your case amicably.

Pinellas County Emergency Rental Assistance Program is now open! Tenants and landlords can apply.

To learn about eligibility requirements, what documents are needed, and more, go to Emergency Rental Assistance Program Frequently Asked Questions – Pinellas County COVID-19 Response and Recommendations for a detailed listing of frequently asked questions and answers.

To apply, go to http://www.bit.ly/pc-rent.

Frequent Tenant Questions

Saves money/saves time/minimizes stress:

  • With the benefit of a rental assistance program, you may be able to remain in your home (so no need to hire a moving truck or come up with money for a new home)
  • Avoid the uncertainty of when/if an eviction may be filed – agreements are much more likely to be adhered to
  • Be heard and understood by a neutral third party who is specifically trained to address your concerns
  • Avoid time and the stress of preparing for a court case
  • Avoids the uncertainty of an outcome in front of a Judge
  • Maintain confidentiality – this program is outside of the court
  • Possibly avoid an eviction action on your record
  • End your case with the certainty that you have an agreement in place
  1. You can call us at (727) 582- 7475 or reach out through the online portal.
  2. A trained Intake Specialist will conduct a 20-30 minute interview with you. He/she will ask you about your residence, your tenancy (do you have a lease? What is your rent? How far behind are you on your rent?), your income, if you were affected by COVID-19, and other related background questions.
  3. The Intake Specialist will inform you if you meet the criteria for our program.  Your application for assistance is complete at the conclusion of your intake appointment.
  4. If rental assistance is requested, we may be able to help you with the application and/or let you know if we are able to help expedite the process.
  5. If mediation is advisable, we will schedule a remote mediation with one of our Program Mediators. This mediation can last up to two hours but usually takes about 30 minutes to an hour.

Our Staff may ask you for:

  1. Your driver’s license or other photo ID (to prove identity)
  2. A copy of the lease with your landlord
  3. A statement of what you believe you owe your landlord
  4. Any documents you have received from your landlord (such as notices, written warnings, or court documents)

For rental assistance, our staff may ask you for:

  1. Verification of your income
  2. Pre and post COVID paystubs or other proof of COVID impact
  3. Proof of past due utility bills
  4. Documentation of amounts owed to your landlord

Mediation is a non-adversarial process in which a certified mediator speaks with both parties, listens to their concerns, and endeavors to negotiate an agreement between them. The mediator will clarify the issues, identify areas of agreement, and help develop possible solutions. The mediator is not on anyone’s side and won’t decide who is “right” and who is “wrong.” The mediator will not make a decision on your case, as he/she is not a Judge. Rather, the mediator helps both sides understand each other, brainstorms about solutions, and tries to help the parties reach an agreement to end their dispute.

In most mediations, the landlord and tenant will be in separate “breakout rooms” on Zoom. The mediator will go back and forth between the virtual rooms endeavoring to find common ground with you and your landlord. Mediation is confidential (with certain exceptions), so this means that neither you nor your landlord are to share any communications made during mediation with third parties.

If any agreement is reached, the mediator will generate it, and you and your landlord can sign it. If the case has been filed with the Court, this can be submitted to the Court to end the case. If the case has not yet been filed with the Court, this document becomes a binding contract between you and your landlord.

You will receive a Mediate Intake Form and Agreement to Mediate to complete. Please complete these forms and return them to our office via email 24-48 hours before your mediation. These forms will ask you for a complete copy of the lease, a statement of unpaid rent, and a statement of other issues you may be experiencing with your landlord. Please think ahead about possibilities for the resolution of your contested issues. The more prepared you are in advance, the easier and faster your mediation will be!

If an agreement is not reached at mediation, either party may pursue remedies available to them under the law. It is advisable for both parties to obtain advice from an attorney as to their rights under Florida law.

We encourage active negotiation even if mediation is not successful. You can negotiate an agreement up to the point of going to court, and even after going to court. An agreement can be reached at any point and you can always end your case amicably.

Have more questions? Contact us.