Muncie Mediation Program Helps Prevent Evictions
Monday, September, 14, 2020
Muncie is the latest city to implement a mediation program to help landlords and tenants come up with solutions to avoid evictions amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The program was launched as the executive order implemented by Governor Eric Holcomb expires. The order prevented landlords from evicting tenants for non-payment of rent.
The mediation program acknowledges the financial impact of the pandemic and what it means for renters. It will also help landlords and tenants create arrangements to catch up back rent payments in the coming months. It also provides a way in which tenants can surrender their premises if they choose to move and to help them pay the rent that is owed when they leave.
The program is free of charge from all involved and is funded by the Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County.
The program, like the majority of mediation programs, is entirely voluntary. Both landlord and tenant must agree to participate and neither is bound to abide by the outcome unless they agree to do so. The court has no authority to order parties into mediation or to levy any resolution unless mediation ends and parties move forward with legal action.
To abide by social distancing guidelines in place during the continuing pandemic, the program is held virtually by phone or Zoom meeting or whatever platform works for those involved. Parties will not need to meet in person to conduct the mediation session. The program is flexible and meetings can take place during the day or in the evening or weekends, whichever works for the parties involved.