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I’ve been looking at an apartment complex and have an initial deposit in. But the management company wants me to sign something that says if we have a dispute (for example, they withhold my security deposit and I don’t think it’s warranted), that I will not take them to small claims court, that I commit to handling it through arbitration. No one has ever asked me to do that before, and I’m wondering if it’s a bad sign (do they have so many disputes they have a system set up for it?) or a good one (they have an organized system set up so you/they don’t have to muddle through the court system).

If anyone has any knowledge of this from either the tenant or landlord perspective, please let me know what you think of this policy. Should I be reassured, or should I worry?
The apartment complex is in Santa Clarita, California, FYI.

4 Thoughts on My landlord wants me to sign something about arbitration–is that normal?
  1. Reply
    Steve P
    July 12, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    It’s they new “thing” to avoid lawsuits.

  2. Reply
    July 12, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    that is normal, and arbitration is much better thing, because you have a 3rd party mediator that is impartial and listens to both parties. So it is beneficial

  3. Reply
    July 12, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    I don’t think they can do this. Call your landlord/tenant court in your county and ask the county clerk if this can be done in your State. Laws differ from State to State.


    You can ask this question here in this website that I have provided for you.

    Sorry I couldn’t help you to do the research, since you didn’t say what State you live in.

    Either way good luck….

  4. Reply
    Jim H
    July 12, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    Actually there is a difference between mediation and arbitration.

    Arbitration is where an arbitrator will make a final decicion in a dispute and often you will have no other appeal period. Often an arbitrator will be approved by both parties.

    A mediatior is a “Neutral” who will work with both parties and its up to the parties to resolve the dispute with the guidance of a mediator.

    More information on Mediation can be obtained at of mediators in the US and by speciality.

    You may want to look at your agreement.

    In CA the parties agree first to mediate and then arbitrate if no agreement can be met.

    Many atttorneys may object to binding arbitration.

    Both mediation and arbitration can be a time saver thus advoiding litigation which can be costly.

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