Updated: Dec 14, 2020
You may have difficulties resolving any issues with your landlord during the new coronavirus; it is better to know your rights as a tenant. Whether it's a relief program or mediation or at risk of eviction, knowing what to do will protect you while in the middle of a health pandemic.
At The Karima Muhammad Firm LLC, Mediation, and Conflict Management, we encourage parties to visit their local legal aid organization for legal advice regarding their rights.
Landlord-Tenant Mediation can help tenants and landlords settle most house-related disputes that occur during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The mediator can help both parties agree to terms of late or unpaid rent or move-out.
Mediation reduces the tedious process of going to the Housing Court to resolve leases and rent issues, such as unpaid rent, lease concerns, and move-outs.
The Landlord and Tenant mediation conferences are usually free during the COVID-19 pandemic. All information shared during mediation is confidential. Both parties must be willing to agree. Tenants can participate regardless of their immigration status.
Who can mediate
Mediation is appropriate when both parties voluntarily express their intent to resolve issues arising from their lease contract. In most cases, both landlord and the tenant would rather solve related problems instead of going to court.
It can also be available if either the landlord or the tenant has questions for the other party. Mediation proceedings can be resorted to if something needs to be addressed by one of the parties.
The mediation may not be appropriate if the tenant receives rental assistance or lives in public housing. These entities are considered third-parties who have an interest in the outcome of the dispute or conflict. Conversely, parties who had previously been to Housing Court should seek legal advice from a licensed attorney or a legal aid organization.
Mayor's Office to Protect Tenants, Information and Resources for NYC Tenants Impacted by COVID-19 (July 2020)
Nicole Schoeman-Louw, South Africa: #COVID19 Mediation Between Landlords And Tenants – A Critical Tool Now? (Apr. 2020)
Alternative Dispute Resolution-Georgia (2020)
GeorgiaLegalAid.org- Landlord and Tenant Information (2020)
Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation Landlord-Tenant Eviction Defense
Legal Services of New Jersey