Mayor Bill de Blasio launched a landlord-tenant mediation program yesterday in an effort to prevent widespread evictions and keep struggling tenants out of housing court during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The initiative comes as both federal stimulus funding and the state’s eviction moratorium extension are set to expire in coming weeks. The Citywide Landlord-Tenant Mediation Project, which starts immediately, will focus on neighborhoods hit hardest by Covid-19.
The goal is to resolve cases before they reach litigation in Housing Court. Nonprofit Community Dispute Resolution Centers will help tenants and small landlords resolve Covid-19-related rental issues. Priority will be given to tenants and small landlords who do not have any legal representation.
Eligible New Yorkers will be referred to CDRCs in each borough, who will manage case intake, facilitate the mediation sessions, and conduct case follow-ups to ensure resolutions are being upheld. In addition to nonprofit CDRCs, the program will be managed by the city’s Housing and Preservation Department, the Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants, among other city agencies.