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028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

New mediation service for private tenants and landlords


Housing Rights is piloting a new mediation service to help resolve disputes between private tenants and their registered landlords.  The service is funded by the Department for Communities and will provide an alternative way to resolve disputes in the sector.

What is housing mediation?

Mediation is a process where an independent and neutral person helps people in dispute to work together find an agreement that works for both. The Housing Rights Mediation Service aims to assist tenants and landlords to come to a shared understanding of their differences so that they can resolve issues.

Our mediation service is aimed at resolving disputes that have occured in a private tenancy.  At times, it can be difficult to sort out problems with private tenancies. Using the law to solve a problem can be a long and expensive process. Sometimes, it may be more appropriate to look at another way of solving problems, such as mediation. 

Delivering the service

The service will be overseen by Laura Coulter, who has wide experience of working as a peace builder and mediator in Northern Ireland and internationally. From a background in community development, her growing interest in peacebuilding led her into community relations work, mediation practice in a number of settings and working in peacebuilding programmes. Through her work, Laura has addressed specific Northern Ireland conflict-related issues, including contentious parades, dealing with the past, on-going community tensions and neighbour disputes.  In 2014, Laura was appointed as a mediation and peacebuilding advisor to a leading INGO in Nepal where she worked for 3 years. This international experience has widened her perspective and knowledge on effective mediation and peacebuilding strategies in situations of civil conflict.

As the Mediation Practice Manager in Housing Rights, Laura is excited about developing the first housing mediation service for the private rented sector. She hopes that this new service will offer both tenants and landlords “a new way of finding agreements that are sustainable and satisfactory for both parties”.  This new initiative is funded by the Department for Communities for 2 years to provide an alternative way to resolving disputes in the sector.

Who can use the mediation service?

The Housing Mediation Service is free and is open to:

  • Tenants
  • Registered Landlords
  • Letting agents
  • Housing associations operating in the sector

What kind of issues can mediation help to resolve?

Mediation may be a helpful way of resolving disputes relating to

  • Property standards
  • Repairs
  • Entry rights
  • Rent/rates arrears
  • Unprotected tenancy deposits,
  • Threatened evictions
  • Breach of tenancy terms
  • Noise/Anti-social behaviour

When both parties in the dispute have agreed to take part in mediation an independent mediator with specialist housing knowledge helps the parties talk about their dispute and come to a solution that works for everyone.

Accessing the service

Landlords and tenants who feel that they would benefit from this service can apply online, call Housing Rights on 028 90 245640 and pick option 6 or email mediation@housingrights.org.uk

Tagged In

Private Tenancies, Practical tips

This article was written on 4 February 2020. 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.