Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mediation Matters

When things go wrong in a tenancy, apply for Tenancy Tribunal as soon as it is clear trying to sort it out with the tenant (or the landlord, for that matter) isn't actually advancing the situation, particularly if you are getting promises that are not being kept.

Most likely, you will be scheduled for Mediation. Here are some things you need to know:

The mediator should be impartial. They don't favour the landlord or the tenant.
They should explain their role clearly to all parties and explain the process.
They should let you discuss the issues and reach a decision, while keeping everyone cool.
They shouldn't ask leading questions.
They should not suggest solutions.
They should help all parties reach agreement.
They should know the tenancy laws, and guide everyone to a lawful solution.
They should make clear what has been agreed upon, and write up that agreement.
They should write up mediated orders in a timely way and send them to be sealed by the Tenancy Tribunal promptly.
They should always act professionally and calmly.

If they don't do the above, you have a couple of choices. If you cannot reach a decision in Mediation, you can have the matter referred to Tribunal. This will take longer to get an outcome, and this may not be satisfactory if the problem will get worse with time (like rent arrears accumulating).

Or if the mediator has failed in their duty to be impartial and professional, you can complain about how it was handled. To do this, contact Department of Building and Housing on 0800 83 6262 and ask them to put you in touch with the mediation team leader and state why. In our experience the team leader has returned our calls the same day, and has acted swiftly and appropriately to see matters handled correctly.

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