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Overview

The Housing Mediation Project is a free mediation program that provides Blaine County landlords and tenants with an avenue for resolving housing-related issues without filing an eviction with the court. It is available to landlords considering filing for eviction and tenants facing eviction.
 

  • Landlords can receive late and no rent payments, save time, remedy property issues, and avoid legal and court fees associated with filing an eviction.
     

  • Tenants can avoid an eviction filing on their permanent public record (which can make it extremely difficult to access new housing), maintain stable housing, and reduce disruption if a move is unavoidable. 
     

Mediation is a fair, efficient, and confidential process for resolving disagreements.

  • A mediator is a neutral third party, not a tenant advocate. Any landlord concessions made in mediation are theirs to make, and there is no pressure to perform. 
     

  • During mediation, trained mediators help the parties find a mutually acceptable resolution. 
     

  • Payment arrangements made in mediation are paid 93 percent of the time. When a judge orders a cash award, the likelihood of seeing that money drops to 37 percent. 
     

  • Pre-court mediation can result in a written agreement that can be used as evidence in court in the unlikely event that the agreement is not complied with, and eviction becomes inevitable. 

How it works

During mediation, both parties meet with the mediator to discuss concerns and explore solutions and funding resources. The mediator works with the parties to create a mutually acceptable written agreement signed by both parties. 

The Housing Mediation Project

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Carol Barkes, CPM

Fox News named Carol the top neuroscience-based conflict resolution expert in the country. She directed the Idaho Fourth District Court for many years and managed a team of roughly 70 volunteer mediators. In this capacity, she has overseen and mediated thousands of unlawful detainer eviction cases. She also created the eviction court mediation program for the Idaho Third District Court and now serves the Nevada Supreme Court facilitating their eviction court processes and mediating many of the eviction cases plaguing Clark County, Nevada’s most populated county.

When she is not mediating, she is an adjunct professor/lecturer at the U of I Law School, BSU, and CSI and is a sought-after keynote speaker who has spoken at the United Nations. She is also a best-selling author having co-written Success Breakthroughs with renowned author, Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup for the Soul author), and has been named an Idaho Woman of the Year twice. Carol spends her free time traveling, diving, hiking, and enjoying time with her family. It may be worth noting here that Carol typically bills out at a rate of $7000 - $10000 per keynote speech she provides. 

Meet your team

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Leigh K. Barer, CPM

Passionate about helping people resolve conflict, Leigh is a Ketchum-based certified professional mediator (CPM) with experience mediating evictions, small claims, and family law conflicts. Her interest in dispute resolution is underscored by her professional training and extensive experience solving complex communication challenges. Before mediation, she spent 15+ years advising countless businesses and nonprofits on how to communicate clearly with their audiences. As a volunteer mediator with multiple Idaho counties, she facilitates conversations between individuals, families, and businesses to resolve conflict most effectively.

Leigh serves on the board of the Idaho Mediation Association, is a member of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC), and is listed on the Idaho Supreme Court Roster for Child Custody Mediators. She has certifications in basic and advanced mediation, child custody mediation, domestic violence mediation, and restorative justice. Leigh earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications from Seattle University. Spare time is spent outside hiking and snowshoeing the mountains with family and friends. 

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Mandy Heward, CPM

Mandy is a rising star in the Idaho mediation scene. Her background as a deputy clerk and court assistance officer in Cassia County coupled with her legal assistant background makes her an extremely effective mediator. It also makes her the perfect person to oversee an eviction program that overlaps with the courts. Her grasp of the legal process along with her background as a substitute teacher and behavior technician greatly contribute to her ability to help guide her clients to reach successful resolutions. She especially enjoys empowering parties to make their own decisions rather than having those decisions given over to a judge.

 

Mandy volunteers her time to the various court mediation program in the state and has been a valuable team member for more than two years. She is also trained in neuroscience-based approaches to mediation which makes her skillset one of the most effective and unique in the state. Mandy has lived in Idaho her entire life and enjoys all the beauty Idaho has to offer. She especially loves her morning walks along the Snake River, camping, spending time outdoors with family and friends, and kayaking. 

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Landlord benefits

With pre-court mediation, landlords can:

  • Save time and money otherwise spent on eviction filing, legal, and court costs. Landlords tend to carry the burden of legal costs ($500+) and time spent in the process and recouping these costs from a tenant who is already facing financial challenges may be difficult.
     

  • Receive payment in the event of late or no-rent payment. 
     

  • Minimize turnover costs and reduce vacancies.
     

  • Avoid the need to legally prove a case (37% of landlords are unsuccessful in court).
     

  • Reduce the likelihood of property damage through positive communication. 
     

  • Refrain from being the "bad guy." Mediators can communicate some of the hard truths to tenants.
     

  • Use the written mediation agreement as evidence in court in the unlikely event the agreement is not complied with and eviction becomes inevitable​.
     

  • Help reduce the cycle of homelessness thus lowering the burden on future landlords.

 

Tenant benefits

With pre-court mediation, tenants can:

  • Resolve informal evictions and prevent a formal eviction on your public record. An eviction on a tenant's public record m makes it extremely difficult to secure new housing. 
     

  • Avoid the need for tenant legal representation in 97% to 98% of cases (Source: NeuroMediation Group).
     

  • Have a voice and brainstorm possible solutions.
     

  • Increase the likelihood that households can stay in their current housing and minimize disruption if displacement is unavoidable.
     

  • Experience a balance of power. 
     

  • Better understand their options (both best and worst case).
     

  • Connect with resources to resolve or reduce the effects of displacement.