New Indiana Supreme Court program tries to avoid evictions

The Indiana State Supreme Court last month unveiled a new statewide program designed to help landlords and tenants settle rent disputes before going to court.

The free Landlord and Tenant Settlement Conference Program allows the parties to work with a neutral facilitator to resolve their issues without filing for eviction. Even if an eviction case is later dismissed, the process can be costly and the stigma associated with eviction often has a long-term effect on a tenant’s ability to find housing.

State leaders announced the program as the courts face a backlog of eviction and foreclosure cases due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The increase in eviction and foreclosure cases requires swift action,” said Chief Justice Loretta Rush. “In the best of outcomes, more tenants will stay in their homes and more landlords will receive rent. That’s a win for the parties and the community.”

Landlords or tenants can request facilitation online; facilitators will help the parties discuss their situation and aid them in finding viable resolutions.

Facilitators are registered mediators, attorneys and senior judges who are provided with training, resources and compensation. Already, more than 100 facilitators have agreed to serve, including Senior Judge David Shaheed, who served as a trial judge during the mortgage foreclosure crisis in 2008.

“I’ve seen firsthand the results that can be achieved when all parties facing a difficult situation come to the table to discuss a resolution,” he said. “Facilitation is a way to help people in a tremendous bind move on to a successful next chapter.”

The Indiana Supreme Court’s Office of Judicial Administration started the Landlord and Tenant Program with support from the Indiana Bar Foundation and the Governor’s Office. The existing Mortgage Foreclosure Facilitation Program remains in place. 

Read the full press release here.