Preserve Strong Communities with Housing Mediation

by Center for Conflict Resolution
Preserve Strong Communities with Housing Mediation

CCR has recently expanded its Housing Mediation Programs to serve the Markham Courthouse!  Thanks to your support, since March 1, 2015 we have served more than 100 clients at Markham Courthouse. The story below is a great example of how CCR helps tenants and landlords through this program:

Belinda was a tenant in Preston’s building, and had gotten behind by several months in her rent payments. She had recently been diagnosed with cancer and was going through treatment. All of Belinda’s money was going towards paying her medical bills. Belinda assumed that Preston had plenty of resources, therefore, she didn’t give much thought to how this was impacting him – her health was her first concern.

During mediation, Preston had a chance to explain that the building wasn’t his. He was managing the property for his mother-in-law, who lived in the other unit of the two-flat building. Preston’s mother-in-law was in home hospice, and without income from the rental unit, they would be unable to afford her end-of-life care. Belinda and Preston realized the commonalities in their situation, and were able to discuss the difficulties of paying for medical care, as well as the importance of responsibility. What Preston needed most was to get a paying tenant into the building’s other unit.

Belinda and Preston were able to reach an agreement where Belinda’s past due rent was forgiven in exchange for her moving out of the unit quickly; she’d arranged to live with family, who could also help to take care of her. Without the chance to have this conversation, the situation would have ended much differently for both Belinda and Preston.

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Center for Conflict Resolution mediates with hundreds of tenants and landlords each year, helping parties to come to practical agreements that meet their needs. The story below describes one of our recent mediations:

Catherine had lost her job and was unable to keep up with rent payments to her landlord, Yolanda. Catherine knew that she needed to move out of her unit, but needed time to plan. She indicated that she spoke with a legal aid attorney and they informed her that she would only have a few weeks to move out of the house. 

Yolanda attended the mediation with her young son. Yolanda explained she needed the rent money in order to pay the mortgage on the house and support her son. She said she was just making it each month and could possibly lose her house. 

Catherine and Yolanda agreed that they had a great relationship in the past. Yolanda indicated that she knew that Catherine had not intended to miss rent payments, but simply lost her job. Because of this, Yolanda said she was willing to forgo the late fees that had been accrued. Catherine acknowledged that she owed the Yolanda the past rent and was grateful that the landlord was willing to forgo the late fees. She was willing to make payments to repay the money she owed the landlord.

The parties reached an agreement that allowed Catherine time in the apartment until she received her next paycheck from her new job, which would allow her to pay moving expenses and to put down a deposit on a new unit. Payments on back rent would begin with Catherine's following paycheck in one month's time. The parties agreed on a realistic monthly payment amount, and that Catherine would make sure the house was presentable for viewings by interested parties.

The parties signed an agreement. 

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Organization Information

Center for Conflict Resolution

Location: Chicago, IL - USA
Website:
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Project Leader:
Cassandra Lively
Chicago, IL United States
$44,038 raised of $75,000 goal
 
214 donations
$30,962 to go
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