rent in nyc

De Blasio Announces NYC Landlord-Tenant Mediation Program Amid COVID Rent Crisis

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What to Know

  • New York City announced a new program Tuesday to provide housing security to tenants across the city who may be facing hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Effective immediately, the Landlord-Tenant Mediation Project will serve New Yorkers each month by addressing rent-related issues in a mediation setting, outside of the housing court system. The program will focus on hardest hit communities.
  • Priority will be given to tenants and small landlords who do not have legal representation. Eligible tenants will be referred to non-profit Community Dispute Resolution Centers (CDRCs) in each borough, and each CDRC will manage case intake, provide mediation sessions, and monitor case follow up for tenants.

New York City announced a new program Tuesday to provide housing security to tenants across the city who may be facing hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Effective immediately, the Landlord-Tenant Mediation Project will serve New Yorkers each month by addressing rent-related issues in a mediation setting, outside of the housing court system. The program will focus on hardest hit communities.

"As the City continues to beat back COVID-19, we must use every tool at our disposal to keep tenants safely in their homes, especially in communities that were already burdened by the affordable housing crisis," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "This project will ensure that New Yorkers aren't forced from their home during this unprecedented health and economic crisis."

Mediation places the decision-making power in the hands of the parties involved, according to the city, which results in solutions to rental issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic for both landlords and tenants.

Priority will be given to tenants and small landlords who do not have legal representation. Eligible tenants will be referred to non-profit Community Dispute Resolution Centers (CDRCs) in each borough, and each CDRC will manage case intake, provide mediation sessions, and monitor case follow up for tenants.

According to city officials, the goal of the program is to resolve cases before they reach litigation and avoid the long-term effects of an eviction proceeding which can lead to displacement for vulnerable tenants and limit future housing options.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare institutional and economic inequities that communities of color experience every day, which the City is committed to addressing,” First Lady Chirlane McCray said. “This new program will break down barriers to affordable, stable housing for Black and Brown New Yorkers and help their neighborhoods come back stronger after this crisis.”

In a survey conducted among residents of hardest-hit neighborhoods, nearly all respondents to the Community Voices Survey cited rent burden as a primary issue facing their communities, and its systemic impacts.

Some tenants will not be paying rent for the month of May to rally behind co-tenants who cannot pay this months rent because of coronavirus caused unemployment, Adam Harding reports.

According to the city, housing programs like the Mediation Project allow the city to create a direct line to a holistic and fair recovery for minority communities.

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), with support from the Human Resource Administration’s Office of Civil Justice (OCJ).

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