Mecklenburg County Courthouse Hoping Onslaught of Potential Evictions Can Be Avoided with Mediation
Wednesday, June, 10, 2020
There are currently more than 1800 eviction cases ending in the Mecklenburg County Courthouse – a number that is expected to increase in the coming months as the economy recovers from the COVID-19 shutdown. The courthouse reopened recently, but it is hoping to avoid an immediate wave of new eviction lawsuits by encouraging those involved in landlord-tenant disputes to attempt mediation.
In most of the cases, tenants lost their jobs or had a significant reduction in income due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the forced shutdowns. Many have been unable to keep up with rent payments and face eviction. Even landlords who tried to work with tenants are in dire situations and are struggling to extend flexibility as their mortgage payments come due on properties they own.
According to Mecklenburg County judge, evictions are not a priority at the moment as the court tries to catch up. It is prioritizing child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, and felony cases at the moment, and nobody is sure exactly when that will change. The judge speculated that things might slow down in July, but it is hard to tell.
The strategy the court came up with to manage the overload was to encourage tenants and landlords to work together to find a solution outside of court. Court officials held four meetings in the last few weeks where they discussed the options and determined mediation was the best solution.
Instead of just pushing these disputes away, they are actively encouraging non-binding, voluntary mediation. Mediations will be done via video conferencing, so there will be no need to meet in person.