Consumer Mediation / Landlord-Tenant
The Consumer Protection Unit of the Marin County District Attorney's Office provides mediation for various types of disputes. The Unit's Mediation Program handles consumer-business disputes, animal, neighborhood, and landlord-tenant disputes among others. It also provides education to consumers, retailers, neighbors, landlords, tenants and others and is a public resource for consumer rights information.
This program is offered and available to residents of Marin who have experienced some difficulty in a business transaction or other dispute and assists the parties in an effort to obtain a resolution of their dispute, short of going to court.
Examples of Disputes Mediated:
- Consumer - Advertising, warranties, auto repair, car sales, contractor-homeowner, mail order, charitable solicitations, investment opportunities, consignment sales.
- Landlord/Tenant - Repairs, security deposits, evictions.
- Real Property - Sales, easements, drainage, land use.
- Neighbor - Noise issues, fences, use of common facilities, encroachments.
- Homeowner Association (HOA) - Fines, assessments, disputes.
- Animal Issues - Potentially Dangerous and Vicious Dog issues, barking dogs, noise or encroachment from horses, peacocks, etc.
No fees are charged for mediated disputes.
The Mediation Process
When a complaint is received, it is first determined whether mediation is appropriate, and then whether all parties are willing to participate in seeking a settlement. In some cases, a person may be referred to another agency or advised to consider private legal remedies.
Mediation assists two or more parties in finding a mutually acceptable solution to their dispute.
Mediators help the parties clarify issues and consider alternate solutions. They do not impose decisions or reach verdicts. Mediators may provide information regarding applicable laws, but they cannot counsel the parties as to their legal rights. Mediators may also discuss other means of resolving a dispute, such as contacting regulatory agency, filing a small claims action, seeking the advice of an attorney, or arranging for arbitration.
Mediation is concluded when an agreement is reached or a party refuses to participate further.
Whether a complaint is mediated, referred, or resolved through court action, the complaint remains on file for four years and is reviewed in reference to any subsequent similar complaint.
All of the above services are available to Spanish speaking clients. The Spanish telephone number is (415) 473-6188.
Telephone: (415) 473-6495
What is Animal Mediation?
Animal Mediation is a service provided to Marin residents to assist in resolving any issues regarding animals. Animal issues that can be mediated range from dogs barking, roosters crowing, cat concerns, or peacocks intruding onto a neighbor's property to more serious Potentially Dangerous Animal Problems. There is no fee for this service.
Potentially Dangerous Animals
Referrals from the Animal Services Division of the County of Marin may be resolved in three different ways based on the determination by the Humane Society.
Mediation - The dog owner and the complaining party are referred to Consumer Mediation to resolve the issues between them.
Stipulate to the Designation - The dog owner accepts the designation of Potentially Dangerous Animal by waiving their right to a hearing by signing the Waiver Form and agreeing to the sanctions imposed by the Food and Agricultural Code 31641, 31642, and 31643 and MCC Section 8.04.181.
Potentially Dangerous Animal Hearing - An Administrative Hearing is conducted to determine if the dog meets the Potentially Dangerous Animal criteria based on the above-referenced Food and Agricultural and the Marin County Codes.
Vicious Animal Hearing - This hearing is for more serious attacks where a person is injured and requires multiple sutures or a violation of the Potentially Dangerous Animal Sanctions has occurred.
How Do I Access Mediation for an Animal Complaint?
People may request mediation for many animal issues by contacting Consumer Mediation directly and filling out a Request for Service/complaint form. A common complaint is the nuisance of barking dogs.
To file a complaint involving an animal that has behaved aggressively contact the Marin Humane Society at (415) 883-4621. They will document the complaint and investigate. Based on their findings, one of the above referenced-referrals may come to the District Attorney Consumer Unit's Mediation Program.