Preserve Strong Communities with Housing Mediation

by Center for Conflict Resolution
Preserve Strong Communities with Housing Mediation
Oct 21, 2022

A Neighborly Way

Lawrence had been a tenant of Jackie’s for over five years, when the two of them found themselves in a mediation at the Center for Conflict Resolution. Their pending eviction case had been referred for mediation and the landlord and tenant had both agreed to give it a try. The mediation was held virtually.

The mediator asked the parties how they’d ended up in court and learned very quickly that Jackie and Lawrence had a lot to say. Jackie was angry that Lawrence had overdue rent of nearly six months. Jackie had owned her three-flat in Chicago for over 10 years and she prided herself on being a good landlord. Jackie lived on the first floor and had tenants on the top two floors. She felt that Lawrence, who rented the third floor, had been a good tenant the first few years she knew him, but things had not gone well since the pandemic began.

Lawrence was also upset with Jackie. He could not believe that Jackie had filed an eviction case against him. Lawrence was insulted and concerned about his future prospects as a tenant with an eviction on his record. He had also been having a really hard time during the pandemic. Lawrence lives with his adult brother and is responsible for his brother’s care. It was really hard to come by resources and support in 2020 and Lawrence fell behind in rent. He had not been able to keep up on rent since 2020.

The mediator pointed out that Lawrence and Jackie were not simply landlord and tenant, they were also neighbors. This observation prompted both parties to speak warmly of the other, as they had enjoyed a good neighbor relationship over the years. The mediator continued to ask questions of the parties and helped them determine what a good path forward could look like for both of them. Ultimately, Jackie and Lawrence agreed that it would be best for Lawrence to find a new place to live. He could not comfortably afford the rent and he needed a ground-floor apartment so his brother would not have to deal with so many stairs. Jackie decided she could forgive the past-due rent, if Lawrence and his brother could leave the apartment within the month.

The parties made an agreement for Lawrence to move in the coming weeks and for Jackie to dismiss the pending court case. When it was time to electronically sign the agreement, Jackie was having trouble with the technology. Lawrence cheerfully offered to come down and help her navigate the system. Jackie was relieved to have the support. Within a few minutes, the mediator saw both parties appear on the screen together, joking and chatting as they finalized their agreement. They agreed the mediation was complete, but decided to continue their neighborly conversation when the mediator logged off. Through mediation both parties had a chance to tell their story, repair their relationship, and make a realistic plan to move forward.

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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
$44,625 raised of $75,000 goal
 
249 donations
$30,375 to go
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