Housing Mediation Service

Housing Rights is piloting Northern Ireland’s first housing mediation service for the private rented sector. The service is funded by the Department for Communities to provide an alternative way to resolve disputes in the sector.

The aim of housing mediation is to give landlords and tenants a shared understanding of the issue so they can work towards reaching a mutually satisfactory outcome and agreement. The mediation process is not based on examining evidence or determining who is right or wrong, but rather how parties can resolve the issue by working together and avoiding litigation.

The Housing Mediation Service is free and open to:
  • Tenants
  • Registered Landlords
  • Letting agents
  • Housing associations operating in the private rented sector
The service can help with many kinds of disputes including:
  • Property standards
  • Repairs
  • Entry rights
  • Rent/rates arrears
  • Unprotected tenancy deposits,
  • Threatened evictions
  • Breach of tenancy terms
  • Noise/Anti-social behaviour
 
The Housing Mediation Service during Covid-19
The Housing Mediation Service has continued to help tenants and landlords with new issues that have arisen as a consequence of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Face to face meetings have been suspended therefore most mediation is currently being conducted over the phone or via Zoom.
 
Accessing the service 
Benefits of the Housing Mediation Service
  • It’s free:  There is no cost involved in taking part
  • Confidentiality:  Mediation is entirely confidential to the parties and the outcome of the session will not be published.
  • Convenience:  The mediation is generally conducted over the phone.  Timing can be as flexible as possible to avoid the need to take a day off from work or college. Telephone mediation avoids any associated travel costs; however, face to face (via Zoom) sessions can be made available when required.
  • Speed:  Parties to a mediation can reach an agreement within weeks of submitting their application as opposed to a much longer period for formal legal action.  Mediation is a way of producing a quick result.
  • Non-confrontational:  The Mediator contacts each party individually (usually) over the phone. The parties involved do not have to meet face to face or even speak directly to each other at any stage during the mediation process, if they do not wish to.
  • Not evidence based:  Parties to a mediation are only asked to submit relevant documentation. The aim is not for parties to prove each other wrong but to focus on solutions.  The mediator is not a decision-maker; he/she will help the parties reach their own agreement.
  • Support and Guidance:  Mediators are trained in working with parties to resolve housing related disputes. The mediator acts as a neutral facilitator and supports each party through the process. They will explain each step of the process whilst informing parties on their rights and responsibilities.
  • High Rate of Compliance: Parties who have reached their own agreement in mediation are more likely to comply with its terms, as it has been reached by mutual consent.
  • Customised Agreements:  Mediated settlements can address both legal and non-legal issues. The parties can tailor their settlement to their individual situation.