Oakland County's 1st eviction diversion program begins operations

eviction-lawyerPONTIAC, Mich. – The first eviction diversion program in Oakland County began operations May 1 at 50th District Court.
The program is a voluntary effort to help landlords and tenants resolve disputes over unpaid
rent without court judgments that damage tenant credit ratings.
 
The Oakland County office of Legal Aid and Defender Association, Inc. (LAD) collaborated with
the court, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the Community Housing Network
and other charitable groups in Oakland County to develop the program.
 
LAD’s Macomb County office operates a similar program at 37th District Court in Warren. The
Macomb and Oakland programs are modeled on the one at 8th District Court in Kalamazoo.
 
“A landlord who wants to keep a good tenant who has fallen on hard times can began an action
under the program in the court when filing for an eviction for nonpayment of rent,” Kelly
Bidelman, managing attorney of LAD’s Macomb and Oakland offices, said. The case is placed on the
court’s eviction docket, Community Housing Network arranges for the tenant to meet with
community agencies that can help pay the back rent, and the LAD attorney negotiates a
conditional dismissal with the landlord’s attorney.
 
“I applaud our community partners for bringing the program to Pontiac and for helping at-risk
families remain in their homes,” Cynthia Walker, chief judge of 50th District Court, said. “I
expect that Pontiac landlords who own decent properties will embrace this type of collaborative
effort. This is a great program for tenants as well because they won’t end up with a judgment
and the negative impact to their credit history.”
 
For further information on the program, contact Bidelman at (248) 253-1548, ext. 4003 or
KBidelma@ladadetroit.org.

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