Spurring a Gift Horse

What is more complicated than the law?  Answer: family.  I recently got a call from a woman living with her aunt, who had given her a room for the past five years.  The reason for the call was that she had received from her aunt a written demand that she leave or start paying rent.  My enraged caller demanded to know whether this notice complied with landlord-tenant law and whether she had recourse against her aunt for failure to recognize her rights as a tenant.  This caused me to wonder how many “legal matters” could be better resolved with good counseling.  A high percentage I suspect.

Contracts sometimes have mediation clauses in them.  This does not often lead to resolution of a heated dispute because neither side is bound by an outcome and it is easy to dispense with a mediator’s recommendations as being biased or ignorant.  I suppose a mandatory counseling clause would suffer the same fate.

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