Free Landlord / Tenant Mediation Program Begins on Big Island
The two Hawai’i County Mediation Centers have started conducting free 90-minute landlord-tenant mediations.
Mediations come in response to the end of the moratorium on state evictions, which ended on August 6, 2021.
The shutdown initiated Law 57, which was passed by the state legislature and enacted by Governor Ige. Law 57 stipulates that tenants must be offered the possibility of mediating when they receive a notice of eviction for non-payment of rent. Mediation is a safe, private and neutral setting for landlords and tenants to discuss how to move forward.
“Our goal is to help tenants and landlords work together to find solutions, ideally avoiding both a lengthy and costly eviction process in court,” said Kate Sims, Landlord-Tenant Case Manager at the West Hawai’i Mediation Center. “Through mediation, landlords and tenants are often able to identify positive steps each can take to avoid court altogether. “
Mediators are impartial and help people talk and negotiate. In addition, mediators can help the parties work out lasting agreements, such as overdue rent payment plans, future rent plans, applying for rent assistance together, a move without eviction in the tenant’s case. and / or other agreements that support the needs of the landlord and tenant.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 provided the island of Hawai’i with $ 10.4 million in rent and utility funding to help low-income tenants stay in stable housing . These grants are available until June 30, 2022.
Information on the Emergency Rent and Utilities Assistance program, including how to apply and submit required documents, is available at www.HawaiiCountyERAP.org. During mediation, qualified low-income tenants will be encouraged to apply for these funds to discount their rent.
“Given the tight rental market and backlogs in the courts, state lawmakers felt it was important for the parties to work together to see if the eviction can be avoided,” Big Island mayor said , Mitch Roth. “In mediation, landlords and tenants can listen to each other, access rental assistance and make informed decisions. We hope that through these mediations, we will be able to find creative and thoughtful solutions that will have a positive impact on our communities in the future. “
For East Hawai’i, contact the Ku’ikahi Mediation Center at (808) 935-7844 ext. 8, [email protected], or www.hawaiimediation.org/landlordataire.
For West Hawai’i, contact the West Hawai ‘i Mediation Center at (808) 664-0991, [email protected], or www.whmediation.org/our-services/landlord-ataire.