NH Courts Offer Landlord-Tenant Mediation to Reduce Evictions
Wednesday, January 19, 2022
As many Granite Staters struggle to pay ever-increasing rent prices, the New Hampshire court system is offering mediation for landlords and their tenants who may be facing eviction.
The median price to rent a two-bedroom apartment in New Hampshire is more than $1,400 a month, slightly higher than the national average.
Margaret Huang, alternative dispute resolution coordinator in the New Hampshire Judicial Branch's Office of Mediation and Arbitration, said the program is aimed at supporting both landlords and renters to come to a resolution, short of filing an eviction case.
"And by doing this," she said, "it will help save landlords time and money, it helps the tenant avoid a black mark on their record, and we're hoping to help take cases off the court docket."
In some areas, Huang said, there also is post-filing mediation, and legal aid and rental assistance also are available. In Manchester and Nashua, the agency Southern New Hampshire Services is working to help people apply for rental assistance at the courthouse.
If you're a landlord preparing to file an eviction or a renter at risk of being evicted, Huang said, you can call 603-271-6418 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to start an intake process. Then, the Mediation and Arbitration Office contacts the other party to start working toward a solution.
"Once we have both parties' consent, we refer the case to a mediator who can help parties talk through the dispute," she said, "and then, if appropriate, come to an agreement, which we will then write up for the parties through this program."
She noted that rental-housing disputes often are complicated, and sometimes folks need a helping hand from a neutral party. She said she hopes the program can offer a more positive alternative to eviction.
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