New law provides for mediation for renters, landlords

Posted on Jul 29, 2021 in Capitol Connection, Featured, Main
Gov. Ige urges tenants and landlords to use free mediation services.

Gov. Ige urges tenants and landlords to use free mediation services.

With the eviction moratorium expiring at 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 6, renters and landlords are being urged to familiarize themselves with Act 57, a new law that changes eviction procedures for non-payment of rent and incentivizes mediation for both renters and landlords. “The state, counties, Legislature, Judiciary and service providers are working together to keep people in their homes once the eviction moratorium expires,” said the governor. “Whether you’re a renter or a landlord, now is the time to understand the new law.”

The governor’s eviction moratorium has been in place since April 17, 2020 to prevent mass evictions when many people lost their jobs due to the pandemic. “The pandemic isn’t over, but thanks to safe and effective vaccines, many residents are now back at work,” the governor said. He urged renters and landlords to seek out rental assistance relief available through the counties. When tenants are notified of possible eviction, they should immediately contact the mediation center on their island to schedule a session with the landlord within the required 15-day period. The landlord is required to participate.

Act 57 gives time and a process for landlords and tenants to work together on a payment plan so landlords can begin getting the back rent owed and tenants can remain in their homes. “Mediation is not part of the legal system,” explained Tracey Wiltgen, executive director of The Mediation Center of the Pacific. “Landlords and tenants craft their own agreements that work for them.” The state’s five community mediation centers have been preparing for the large number of anticipated cases with designated, trained staff. County and state agencies such as the Office of Consumer Protection, county offices, the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, community advocates, legislators, and other organizations are helping to reach out to anyone who needs advice. For more information, go to https://governor.hawaii.gov/featured/eviction-moratorium-resources/.

Read more in the August Capitol Connection newsletter.

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