A new program to help those facing eviction and those trying to collect rent is available statewide.
The Indiana Supreme Court is launching the Landlord and Tenant Settlement Conference Program to provide a free avenue for landlords and tenants to reach a mutually beneficial resolution.
As the COVID-19 pandemic persists, courts face a backlog of eviction and foreclosure cases.
Chief Justice Loretta Rush said in a news release that the increase in eviction and foreclosure cases requires swift action.
"This program is a no-cost opportunity for landlords and tenants to resolve their dispute outside of court with a neutral facilitator," Rush said. "Possibilities include negotiated payment plans, back payments or move-out dates without the legal costs and stigma of an eviction. In the best of outcomes, more tenants will stay in their homes and more landlords will receive rent. That’s a win for the parties and the community.”
Landlords or tenants who want to request facilitation may do so at courts.in.gov/facilitate using the Fast-Track Facilitation application. Facilitators will help the parties fairly discuss their situation and aid them in finding viable resolutions.
Some resolutions may include allowing tenants to stay in the home, while others may not. But in all instances, the facilitation will be free to the parties and allow both sides an opportunity to see if a settlement can be reached before an eviction case is filed or if an eviction case has already been filed to see if an agreement can be reached between the parties before the court makes a decision in the eviction case.
The facilitators are registered mediators, attorneys and senior judges who are provided training, resources and compensation. Landlords and tenants can expect to receive neutral assistance from them.
More than 100 facilitators already have agreed to serve, including Senior Judge David Shaheed.
Shaheed, who served as a trial judge during the mortgage foreclosure crisis in 2008, said he has seen firsthand 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," he said.
The Indiana Supreme Court through its Office of Judicial Administration is launching the program with support from the Indiana Bar Foundation and Office of the Governor.
Details on the program may be found at courts.in.gov/facilitate.
The long-established Mortgage Foreclosure Facilitation Program remains in place, too.