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NYPI Launches New Landlord-Tenant Mediation Project in Partnership with NYC and other local CDRCs

New York Peace Institute is excited to announce the launch of a new program – the Landlord-Tenant Mediation Project – that is a direct response to COVID-19 and the adverse impact it has had on NYC tenants’ ability to maintain their homes. This new project, developed and implemented by NYPI in partnership with the City of New York and other local non-profit Community Dispute Resolution Centers (CDRCs), will serve hundreds of New Yorkers each month by addressing rent-related and other housing issues in a mediation setting outside of the housing court system, with a focus on neighborhoods most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the Community Voices Survey conducted among community partners in the hardest-hit neighborhoods, nearly all respondents cited rent burden as a primary issue facing their communities, and many articulated its systemic impacts. Through the Landlord-Tenant Mediation Project, NYPI and the other local CDRCs will assist tenants and small landlords in finding solutions to rental issues and help to ensure that tenants can stay in their homes. The project will serve in conjunction with other housing and legal supports, enable swift resolution of housing issues, and protect tenants from the long-term effects of eviction proceedings and limited future housing options.

In developing this program, NYPI worked with City agencies including the Racial Inclusion & Equity Taskforce, which brings an equity-based approach to COVID-19 response and recovery efforts. As described in the Mayor’s press release, housing solutions like the Mediation Project allow the City to serve as a model for other cities in creating a direct line to a holistic and fair recovery for Black and Brown communities.

NYPI’s CEO, Jennifer Magida said: “New York Peace Institute, the State-designated CDRC for Manhattan and Brooklyn, is thrilled to be partnering with the other local CDRCs and the City of New York on the Landlord-Tenant Mediation Project. For over 40 years, CDRCs have helped New Yorkers expedite the resolution of legal matters, avoid the significant cost of litigation, and move past their disputes. The many crises that have arisen over the last few months have amplified the value of dispute resolution and shed light on the need for new policies and programs that provide more conflict resolution mechanisms outside of the court system. We hope this project will lead to other similar initiatives to empower New Yorkers and address systemic inequity in the years to come.”

The Landlord-Tenant Mediation Project will be managed by CDRCs in coordination with Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants (MOPT), and the Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit (PEU), and with support from the Human Resource Administration’s Office of Civil Justice (OCJ). Eligible tenants will be referred to CDRCs in each borough, and each CDRC will manage case intake, provide mediation sessions, and monitor case follow up for tenants. Any agreement will be treated as a contract between the parties, and neither party waives any rights or obligations by participating in mediation.

New Yorkers are struggling right now – making rent and covering monthly expenses are at the top of so many of our minds. This partnership is another way for NYPI and all of the NYC CDRCs to support vulnerable communities and use our expertise and resources to empower tenants and landlords to create their own solutions to housing matters, which could include many issues such as: needed repairs, tenant harassment, and nonpayment of rent.

Program Managers Samantha Adler and Nick Schmitt are leading this initiative for NYPI and will be reaching out to NYPI mediators for mediation support.

Read the full Press Release issued by the City here.