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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

Adviser: Using mediation to help a young person and their landlord solve a disagreement

We’ve seen an increase in the number of young people asking for help with housing issues in recent months.

Renting Rights is our specialist support service for young people in housing need. The service offers young people aged between 18-25 (or thereabouts):

  • Advice and information
  • Casework and advocacy
  • Mediation

Our Renting Rights mediator has been able to help young people to resolve a variety of housing issues.

Mediation is a process where an independent and neutral person helps people who:

  • have a dispute and
  • want to find an agreement that works for them both. 

Mediation is voluntary but needs both people to engage in the service.

Renting Rights mediator Kim recently helped a tenant and landlord come to an agreement on ending a tenancy early.

19-year-old Sebastian got in touch with Housing Rights after his flat was broken into. He no longer felt safe there and wanted to move out. He had signed a 12-month tenancy agreement and still had 6 months until it expired.

Sebastian was nervous about approaching his landlord about this.  The tenancy agreement clearly said that he would lose his deposit and have to keep paying rent if he left early.

With Sebastian’s permission, Kim contacted his landlord to see if he would take part in mediation. He agreed and a mediation session was arranged.

During the session Sebastian had the opportunity to explain the impact of the break-in to his landlord. His landlord explained the financial worry of letting him out of the tenancy early. Understanding each other’s positions made it easier for Sebastian and his landlord to make an agreement.

They agreed:

  • to bring the tenancy to an end early and that no more rent would be charged
  • that the landlord would keep the deposit to cover the cost of finding a new tenant

Sebastian is now settled in a new home and his previous landlord found a new tenant for the flat.

Contact Renting Rights if you or someone you’re working with is a young person who needs help with housing.

Tagged In

Benefits, Affordability, Adviser

This article was written on 15 February 2022. It should not be relied on as a statement of the current law or policy position. For help with housing issues please contact our helpline on 028 9024 5640 or use our online chat service at www.housingadviceNI.org.