WENATCHEE — A new eviction prevention program will try to help tenants and landlords find solutions to rent owed before an eviction is filed.

Chelan and Douglas counties are implementing the Eviction Resolution Pilot Program (ERPP), which is a statewide, mandatory program aimed at reducing a wave of eviction cases once the state’s eviction moratorium ends on Oct. 31.

A pilot version was established in November 2020 in King, Pierce, Snohomish, Thurston, Clark and Spokane counties.

The program requires tenants and landlords in Chelan and Douglas counties to try to resolve issues around rent owed through an eviction resolution specialist or mediation before an eviction case may be filed in court.

Landlords can initiate the ERPP process by providing a program notice and a 14-day notice to both the tenant and their local dispute resolution center, such as Wenatchee Valley Dispute Resolution Center. They are only obligated to participate in the process if the tenant responds to the notice and accepts services.

Solutions include rental assistance, payment plans, legal aid, mediation or a plan to move out, a center news release says.

Once mediation is finished, the center will issue a certificate confirming the outcome of the mediation and the participation of both parties.

The ERPP is free, confidential and available regardless of immigration status. Language assistance is available.

The Wenatchee Valley Dispute Resolution Center, 5 S. Wenatchee Ave., Suite 210, and can be reached at (509) 888-0957. Information is available at wvdrc.org/erpp.

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