Recent Examples of Property Mediation
Recent Examples of Property Mediation
These three examples from the PRS Mediation Service, show how useful and helpful, engaging in mediation can be for both parties. Many landlord and tenant disputes start from a lack of communication, and if these can be nipped in the bud early on before both sides become entrenched in their positions, then with a bit of good will on both sides, they can be resolved. Sometimes thinking outside of the box might be required, but if both parties agree to the conditions and they are legal, then the options that mediation can offer give both parties a choice and enable the right solution to be found that suits both parties!
“The landlord had been trying to find a solution with his tenant, who had stopped paying his rent six months ago when he lost his job, and was now over £4,500 in arrears. There had always had a long-standing and happy relationship with the tenant and he could not understand why he was no longer responding.
Contact was made with the tenant, who agreed to take part in mediation. He explained that he had been worried about losing his home and had been ignoring the landlord’s calls. He had since found a new job but was still afraid that with this amount of rent arrears, and no savings to pay them, his days were numbered.
A payment plan was agreed that the landlord and the tenant were both happy with. The tenant committed to paying his normal monthly rent, plus extra each month which would clear the arrears in a little over a year. Both parties agreed to review this every six months with a view to increasing the monthly arrears payment to clear the total more quickly, as the tenant got back on his feet.”
“A landlord with several months’ rent arrears, had spoken to solicitors who had advised her that notice periods were returning to pre-COVID levels from 1 October 2021. They also advised her that, despite this good news, it was still likely to take many months to get through the court process.
The landlord had heard of the mediation service and mentioned this to the solicitors. They advised her that mediation could not be used once she had served notice on the tenant.
There is no truth to this. Mediation can be used at any time during a tenancy, regardless of whether notice has been served. Many landlords will serve notice and then offer the tenant the option of mediation. Serving notice first gets the tenant’s attention and shows that the landlord is serious. Equally, landlords can use mediation before serving notice, as a softer initial approach – which is what the landlord decided to do.
It was agreed with the tenant that they would leave the property voluntarily on an agreed date. As an incentive to encourage this, the landlord was happy to reduce the rent arrears owed by one month from £6,895 to £5,910. A mediation agreement was produced making it clear that if the tenant failed to stick to the agreed terms, the reduction no longer applied and the landlord would be able to take legal proceedings, claiming the full amount owed. The tenant left the property and paid the balance of the reduced rent arrears as agreed.
“A landlord with two months’ rent arrears and a tenant with a ‘breathing space’, contacted us for help. Talking to the tenant about their rent arrears was not allowed because they had a ‘breathing space’ – a new initiative that prevents creditors contacting their debtors. Talking to them about their future plans was allowable; when they thought they would be able to start paying rent again, and what that meant for them if they could not.
The tenant realised that staying in the property was only going to get them deeper in debt. The landlord agreed to waive the rent arrears, and the tenant agreed to leave by the end of the month. The Landlord took the view that it was a small price to pay to get his property back, compared to what could end up in a lengthy court battle and mounting rent arrears.”
Mike Morgan (Head of PRS Mediation Service) “We are able to guide both parties on what might be a reasonable settlement to their dispute but are not here to tell the parties what to do, so both parties feel empowered and any settlement that is reached is one that is consensual as opposed to a mandatory or imposed decision.”
These cases show how useful, flexible and dynamic mediation can be for a lot of property situations – it can be so much quicker, smoother and cheaper, leading to a successful outcome that both parties reached and feel comfortable with.
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