Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, the Government has paused possession claims going through the Courts, leading to a big backlog of claims. This has left some landlords with tenants in increasing arrears; and conversely some tenants struggling to make their monthly rent, whose landlords are not interested in negotiating a reduced amount. As a result, the Government has launched a new free Housing Possession Mediation Pilot Scheme in England and Wales. The idea is to resolve possession disputes between landlords and tenants as the possession claim proceeds through the courts. The idea is to help tenancies to continue and assist the parties in compromising.
What is mediation?
A mediation is an informal meeting, hosted by an expert independent and neutral mediator. In the mediation, the mediator helps the parties resolve problems or disputes their own way. They are private, confidential and without prejudice.
How will the mediations be conducted?
The mediations under the Scheme will not be in person, but will be conducted over telephone, WhatsApp or Zoom. You will need an email to access.
How long will the scheme last?
The Housing Possession Mediation Pilot Scheme is to last for approximately six months, at which point it will be evaluated.
Will it work?
The idea behind the scheme is that it will help landlords and tenants come to amicable settlements. Indeed, it is in both parties’ interest to come to a solution. Further, around 84% of all mediations (not necessarily property possession mediations) lead to settlement!
Of course, it remains to be seen how effective the scheme is, and how many people will take it up. As the scheme has just been announced there is only limited information available so we don’t yet know the details of how it will function.
If you are a landlord and have a dispute with your tenant, we recommend that you instruct a solicitor to assist you. Contact our property disputes team on 0800 988 7756 for a free initial discussion.