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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

Housing Mediation During the Coronavirus Crisis

Housing Rights' Mediation Service is continuing to operate during the current pandemic. Just last week an agreement was facilitated between a Landlord and private tenant.

Landlord Joan got in touch with the Housing Mediation Service as her relationship with her tenant, Mary, was breaking down.

Joan explained that Mary had been served a notice to quit 6 weeks ago but had not left the property. Mary had built up rent arrears of £1,000 over time but was making an effort to pay some money towards the arrears when possible. Landlord Joan also had concerns that the property was not being cared for adequately by her tenant, but was aware that she also needed to make some substantial renovations to it.

Making contact with the other party

The Housing Mediation service contacted tenant Mary, who explained that she had fallen into arrears due to other circumstances, but wanted to pay towards them. She had applied for accommodation with the NIHE but was still waiting to hear from them.

After discussing how mediation works and its benefits, both Joan and Mary agreed to give it a try. They knew that the Coronavirus pandemic would most likely mean that Mary would be staying in the property over the next few months, so they needed to find a way forward that would satisfy both their needs.

The mediation process

Mediation took place over the phone and both parties were given the opportunity to discuss the issues and the ways it had affected them. The focus of the mediation then became about finding a solution that both Joan and Mary were in agreement with. A resolution was reached which stated that Mary could remain in the property for the next 3 months; that arrears would be paid off gradually and that the property would be cleaned and maintained.

The Mediation Agreement was written up and agreed by both parties as a successful outcome for the current situation.

Who can use the Housing Mediation Service?

The Housing Mediation Service is free and is open to:

  • Private tenants
  • Registered Landlords
  • Letting agents
  • Housing associations operating in the private 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

Coronavirus, Private Tenancies