Lucas County begins landlord-tenant mediation program
The program announced Wednesday allocates $140,000 in federal funds to pay for two full-time mediators who will work at the Fair Housing Center. The goal is to have a neutral person to negotiate disputes.
Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken says until now conflicts ended up in costly court battles. “You're not going to work out the same solutions with a judge as you would over someone's table. It's non-threatening. Courts are threatening to both parties. What we're trying to set up here is a non-threatening situation for landlord and tenant to communicate what their grievances are.”
Marie Flannery is the President and CEO of the Fair Housing Center and says when that happens, there is often a shift in advantage “Upwards of 90% of housing providers are represented by counsel. Whereas under 10% of tenants are.”
Flannery says her organization gets hundreds of calls a week regarding issues that need resolution, but the only referrals they could give out involved the legal system. “We knew that nobody was really working in this space and if somebody could facilitate a conversation, the parties could probably work something out.”
The Lucas County Commissioners also unveiled a plan that reallocates $55,000 to help people in Lucas County, but not in the city of Toledo with rent payments up to three months if they qualify due to job loss or other accepted hardship.
For more information about the Landlord-Tenant Mediation program or the rent assistance program, call the Fair Housing Center 419-243-6163 or toledofhc.org
For information about the rent assistance program only, call Great Lakes Community Action Partnership Support Specialist Niki Holland at 419-333-6101 or email her a firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.