Davisson: New, free program can keep tenants, landlords out of court

Posted by: Randy Spieth  | Friday, September 4, 2020

While Indiana is moving forward and nearly fully back on track, some Hoosiers who experienced financial hardship due to the pandemic are now facing lengthy and costly eviction or foreclosure processes. This burden adds more financial stress and can take valuable time away from family and work. For people on the brink of eviction or foreclosure, there is help available. Tenants and landlords could benefit from a free program that saves both sides money and keeps them away from the courtroom.

The Indiana Supreme Court recently launched the Landlord and Tenant Settlement Conference Program, designed to help residents and property owners work through the high-stakes issues associated with evictions and foreclosures. This initiative should also keep our local courts from getting bogged down. This is a no-cost opportunity for both the resident and the property owner to resolve a dispute with the help of a neutral facilitator. If both sides agree to this program, it could eliminate court appearances, fees to file an eviction and other expenses.

The neutral facilitators are registered mediators, attorneys and senior judges who can work to negotiate payment plans, back payments or move-out dates. A landlord or a tenant can initiate the request to go through this new and free process, but both sides have to agree to this program. Hoosiers who want to get started should visit courts.in.gov/facilitate.

After both parties agree, a facilitator will be assigned to the case. These neutral facilitators can work remotely online or over the telephone. Their goal is to find an agreeable solution that could include keeping tenants and their families in their homes.

Hoosiers who may be struggling with mortgage payments due to financial hardships caused by the public health crisis could also find help through Indiana's Hardest Hit Fund. This federally funded program provides mortgage payment assistance to eligible homeowners for up to six months or $30,000. Homeowners can learn more at 877gethope.com or call 1-877-GET-HOPE.

No one wants to be the subject of an eviction or foreclosure and this new program could work as a solution for tenants and landlords who choose to work together and avoid the court process. Hoosiers who want to learn more about other available rent and mortgage assistance should call 211 or visit IN211.org.

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State Rep. Steve Davisson (R-Salem) represents House District 73, which includes
Washington County, and portions of Jackson, Lawrence, Orange, Clark and Harrison counties.

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