Property Redress Scheme has launched a tenancy mediation service for residential and commercial landlords, or their appointed letting agent, and tenants, to aid finding a resolution over issues which have arisen during a tenancy.
The service was in planning prior to COVID-19 but has been brought forward to support landlords and tenants struggling with the impact of the pandemic.
Current court cases have been suspended and the Government is urging landlords and tenants to come to agreements over matters such a rent payments.
This is likely to continue in the future as the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is working with the Master of the Rolls to strengthen pre-action protocol requirements and to extend this to possession claims in the private rented sector.
It will put an onus on all parties to negotiate and reach an agreement, rather than go to court.
Sean Hooker, Head of Redress for the Property Redress Scheme, said:
“Mediation is a voluntary, without prejudice, and confidential process, which allows disputes to be resolved much quicker and with less cost than court.
“As a landlord, it also enables you to demonstrate to the court that you have attempted to resolve your issues before coming to them.
“As an approved redress scheme, with extensive experience in housing matters, we are well placed to provide the expert help and assistance needed for successful outcomes.”
Furthermore, when the Section 21 possession process is removed as proposed, there will be even greater need for end of tenancy mediation to allow parties to move on without the need to go to court.
Should landlords have problems with future possession claims, use of a mediation service will demonstrate landlords’ readiness to engage with tenants through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). PRS is authorised to provide the service under the ADR Regulations 2015.
Paul Shamplina, founder of Landlord Action and Brand Ambassador for Hamilton Fraser, added:
“Our recent survey found that 74% of landlords have already been contacted by tenants who are struggling to pay rent due to reduced or terminated employment resulting from the pandemic.
“With the reality that life will not return to ‘normal’ for some time, the most sensible solution is mediation, particularly as landlords will be unlikely to be able to gain possession of their properties for 6-9 months or more.”