City Launches Landlord-Tenant Mediation Project for Housing Security

Mayor Bill de Blasio. Image credit: CityLand

The Community Dispute Resolution Centers will be available in all five boroughs. On July 21, 2020, Mayor de Blasio and the Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity announced the start of a new mediation program for small landlords and tenants across the City. The Citywide Landlord-Tenant Mediation Project will provide both parties with an opportunity to resolve rent-related disputes outside of the housing court system to prevent evictions during the pandemic.

As stated in the Mayor’s press release, “mediation puts decision-making power in the hands of the parties involved, which results in practical solutions for both landlords and tenants.” Through this new program, non-profit Community Dispute Resolution Centers will assist hundreds of New Yorkers monthly with solving rental issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Community Dispute Resolution Centers in each borough will provide eligible tenants and landlords with mediation sessions in an area where both parties feel safe and will provide follow up for tenants after the dispute is resolved. The program will prioritize tenants and small landlords who do not have legal representation.

The Mediation Project will be managed by Community Dispute Resolution Centers and assisted by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, the Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants, the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit, and the Human Resource Administration’s Office of Civil Justice.

Mayor de Blasio stated, “As the City continues to beat back COVID-19, we must use every tool at our disposal to keep tenants safely in their homes, especially in communities that were already burdened by the affordable housing crisis. This project will ensure that New Yorkers aren’t forced from their home during this unprecedented health and economic crisis.”

Jennifer Magida, Chief Executive Officer of the New York Peace Institute commented, “For over 40 years, CDRCs have helped New Yorkers expedite the resolution of legal matters, avoid the significant cost of litigation, and move past their disputes. The many crises that have arisen over the last few months have amplified the value of dispute resolution and shed light on the need for new policies and programs that provide more conflict resolution mechanisms outside of the court system. We hope this project will lead to other similar initiatives to empower New Yorkers and address systemic inequity in the years to come.”

By: Victoria Agosta (Victoria is the CityLaw intern and a New York Law School student, Class of 2022.)


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