The Indiana Supreme Court has launched a dispute resolution program to help address a growing list of evictions and foreclosures stemming from the economic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Landlord and Tenant Settlement Conference Program intends to help both parties resolve their differences by working with a neutral facilitator.
The high court created the program to provide a free avenue for renters and landlords to avoid incurring the expense and time of going to court.
“These disputes carry high stakes for both parties,” said Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Loretta Rush. “The increase in eviction and foreclosure cases requires swift action.”
As Hoosiers were losing their jobs from the economic shutdown, some were unable to pay their rent, putting them at risk for eviction.
Rush said outcomes could include negotiated payment plans, back payments, or move-out dates, but without the legal costs and stigma of an eviction. The chief justice said the fast-track facilitation is a free service. She said both parties must agree to facilitation.
“In the best of outcomes, more tenants will stay in their homes and more landlords will receive rent. That is a win for the parties and the community,” said Rush.
If an eviction case has already been filed, but has not yet gone to court, both parties are still able to use this service.
Court officials said more than 130 facilitators have agreed to help the statewide program, including mediators, attorneys, and senior judges.
“I’ve seen first-hand the results that can be achieved when all parties facing a difficult situation come to the table to discuss a resolution. Facilitation is a way to help people in a tremendous bind move on to a successful next chapter,” said Senior Judge David Shaheed.
Rush said facilitators will be paid through some federal coronavirus relief bill money, the Indiana Bar Association and the governor’s office.
Click here to learn more about the program.
Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Loretta Rush explains how the process works.