July 21, 2021
The Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention's (CDC) latest and reportedly last, moratorium on evictions is set to expire on July 31, 2021. The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) has highlighted this topic since the first orders were issued in 2020. While the national moratorium on evictions may be ending, several state court systems have moved and are moving to assist both landlords and tenants during these unprecedented times in particular through the use of eviction diversion programs. Among the programs are:
Philadelphia’s Emergency Housing Protections Act (EHPA) provides some protections for tenants, including mediation between the landlord and tenant, a temporary waiver of late fees, and mandatory multi-month repayment agreements. Another program in Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Eviction Prevention Program includes a tenant hotline, workshops, and legal services. The court, in connection with the government and non-profits organizations, has worked together aggressively to help tenants avoid the terrible consequences of eviction during the pandemic.
Michigan is another success story of cooperative work between all branches of government and non-profit organizations. The 55th District Court Eviction Diversion Program is a collaborative program between the court and social service organizations to settle landlord/tenant disputes without a court hearing. The program was highlighted by Michigan Chief Justice Bridget McCormack during a White House Eviction Prevention Summit in June 2021 video of which can be found on the White House's YouTube channel. Chief Justice McCormack said that jurisdictions would need leadership, collaboration, and representation to have successful programs.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, NCSC has produced resources to assist state courts on the topic of evictions. The Tiny Chats video series has looked at Evictions (What’s next) that examines how courts can handle the expected influx of eviction cases. NCSC has also created an eviction diversion diagnostic tool, which provides court leaders with a document that provides guidance, best practices, and information from other courts. The tool was recently mentioned by the U.S. Department of Justice in a letter sent to the nation’s Chief Justices and court administrators encouraging its use.
Had your court tried the new tool created by the NCSC? What other programs has your court created? Follow the National Center for State Courts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest and share your experiences!
For more information, contact Knowledge@ncsc.org or call 800-616-6164.