New Court-Based Eviction Mediation Program

July 11, 2023

In an effort to decrease the rising number of evictions affecting Monroe County residents, Pocono Mountains United Way created the Landlord-Tenant Eviction Mediation Program in 2020. While this program has helped keep hundreds of individuals in their homes, Eviction Mediation Manager Linda Paugh wanted to take the program one step further and bring it to residents facing imminent eviction at a local court.

Paugh and other members of the PMUW team began discussing the idea of court-based mediation in 2022 after learning about successful programs in 2 other PA counties. They connected with the President Judge in Monroe County to begin conversations about the option of providing mediation in a magisterial court. After months of planning and collaboration with the Coolbaugh Township Magisterial District Court, the pilot program began in February 2023.

When a landlord files for eviction, they receive information about the Court-Based Eviction Mediation program. The same information is also mailed to tenants when they receive the summons to court. In some cases, this information will prompt the landlord or tenant to reach out for mediation before the hearing. For those who wait, a mediator will be at the courthouse on the day of the hearing where the judge offers each party the opportunity to mediate before their hearing. If they successfully mediate, the hearing will be continued for thirty days, at which time if the agreement holds, the hearing will be dismissed. If the agreement does not hold the landlord can continue with the hearing without filing again.

The program can even provide some assistance to those tenants whose landlords did not choose to mediate. The mediator will work with the tenants to provide community resources for assistance as well as counseling them on the eviction processes and tenant/landlord rights.

Paugh reports that the program has successfully stopped eviction proceedings for nearly 60% of mediation attempts conducted at the court.

“I am excited about the Eviction Mediation program expanding in this way. I am thankful for Judge Travagline being willing to pilot this program in her courtroom and for her desire and support to help and add to my passion to stop evictions in this way.  Sometimes ‘it takes a village’ to enact change.  I envision this pilot program to expand throughout the rest of the Magisterial District Courts in Monroe County in the future,” said Paugh.

If you are a tenant at risk of eviction or a landlord considering eviction, please contact Linda at 570-261-8023 or email to explore your options for eviction mediation.