Mandatory Response Program

The Mandatory Response Program (MRP) provides an opportunity for tenants and landlords to resolve certain types of rental disputes by participating in a confidential dispute resolution process. Once a case is opened by either party, the program requires both parties to participate, but leaves them in control of the outcome. The MRP is administered pursuant to Ordinance 9.72 of the City of Palo Alto.

Purpose: The MRP Ordinance was passed by the Palo Alto City Council in response to the rental housing shortage in the City and the resulting imbalance of bargaining power between tenants and landlords. The Ordinance establishes a mandatory dispute resolution process that provides a safe, confidential avenue for both sides to improve communications. The parties have the opportunity to peacefully resolve their disputes without resorting to litigation or risking damage to their underlying relationship. The Ordinance also protects a party from any acts of retaliation due to utilizing the MRP process.

Types of disputes: The MRP covers any issues or concerns arising from the following rental housing conditions:

  • Rental increases

  • Security deposits

  • Repairs and maintenance

  • Utilities

  • Occupants

  • Parking and storage facilities

  • Privacy and quiet enjoyment

Types of rental properties covered: The MRP applies to rental properties where the landlord owns or operates two or more rental units in the city of Palo Alto.

Opening a case: To request services under the MRP, contact the PAMP case manager at 650-856-4062, or download the Written Petition for Conciliation/Mediation. To initiate a formal case, this petition form must be completed and then emailed to the PAMP case manager at There is a 21-day deadline for a party to file a petition once the party is aware of the facts supporting the case.

Learn more about the program: For more information, contact the PAMP case manager at 650-856-4062. Your contact will be treated as confidential, as will any counseling you receive from the case manager.

What happens after a petition is filed

After receiving a completed petition, the PAMP case manager will send a copy to the tenant and landlord identified in the petition. These parties will first be offered telephone conciliation. If the parties cannot agree on a resolution, they will be required to participate in a mediation session, if requested by the petitioning party. Once the mediation begins, they are free to seek a resolution, but they are also free to end the session at any time. Any terms of a settlement are solely up to the voluntary choice of the parties. Based on the wishes of the parties, the settlement may be treated as confidential, or it can be subject to disclosure.

What happens if an agreement is not reached

All rights and options that are otherwise available to tenants and landlords will continue to be available if there is no settlement, including court. If requested, the PAMP case manager can discuss these rights and options with either party.

Landlord registry

Palo Alto City Ordinance 9.72 requires all landlords to register their rental property with the City of Palo Alto. Additionally, landlords with two or more rental units in Palo Alto must include a Notice of Tenants Rights in their rental agreements; this includes the right to mediation under the MRP.