Wayne County Dispute Resolution Center helps courts with landlord tenant disputes

Resolving landlord tenant-disputes through mediation is one of many ways that Wayne County Dispute Resolution Center (WCDRC) serves residents of Wayne County.

WCDRC is one of 18 community-based nonprofit centers in Michigan, providing mediation services for a wide variety of domestic, general civil, special education and school conflict issues in Wayne County.

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, Michigan issued a statewide moratorium on tenant evictions until July 15. The 36th District Court then extended the prohibition on evictions in Detroit through August 15, 2020.

With the moratorium soon to expire for tenants living in Detroit and now expired for many others throughout Wayne County, WCDRC is gearing up to resolve landlord tenant issues, many of which are referred by the local courts.

As an example, WCDRC recently received a landlord tenant case from Judge Alexis Krot of the 31st District Court in Hamtramck.

‘Our Center received the case referral automatically and contacted the parties quickly to discuss their needs and interests, as well as guide them to the right housing resources for assistance,” said Zeina Baydoun, WCDRC director.  “Parties meet with the assigned mediator and each party is given the option to talk privately with the mediator in a private breakout Zoom room when needed. Landlord tenant cases move more quickly than other cases, making the convenience of mediation on Zoom a necessity.”

 “WCDRC is a valuable resource. Along with mediating landlord tenant issues, their mediators resolve several of our small claims court cases as well,” added Ben Ruby, 31st District Court administrator.

According to Judge Krot, the Michigan Supreme Court was very forward thinking by introducing video conferencing to the courts a few years ago, which helped make the transition from holding in person court hearings to online hearings much easier.

As courts were required to change how they operated with the pandemic, WCDRC also made changes.

“We shifted from providing face-to-face meetings for mediations to virtual mediation sessions,” said Baydoun. “We also held online SCAO-approved 40-hour General Civil and Domestic mediation training classes to grow our team of trained volunteer mediators.”

With the anticipated increase in landlord tenant disputes and to help relieve the courts of other types of cases that could be easily resolved through mediation, WCDRC is inviting Michigan licensed mediators to volunteer their services.

“It doesn’t have to be a large time commitment. It could be volunteering as little as a couple of hours a week and staffing one of our virtual mediation rooms,” added Baydoun. “It’s an extremely rewarding experience to help people work out a solution that meets everyone’s needs. Better still, volunteers can participate from the safety of their home or office.”

For those interested in volunteering as mediators and for more information about the mediation services and training WCDRC provides, visit www.wcdrc.org or call 313-561-3500.


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