Guidance on the new Rental Mediation Service for landlords and tenants undergoing possession proceedings.
Applies to England and Wales
About the service
In February 2021, a new mediation pilot was introduced as part of the current court process for housing possession cases.
The mediation pilot is free to use for landlords and tenants involved in a housing possession court case and helps resolve cases without the need for a face to face court hearing.
You work with a trained, neutral mediator, independent from HM Courts and Tribunals Service, who will help you identify issues and work to resolve them. All parties must agree on the outcome and feel they have reached an acceptable resolution.
The service is part of the government’s work with the judiciary on new court arrangements to support all parties in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19). Details of the other arrangements are available in COVID-19 and renting guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities.
When mediation is offered
As part of your housing possession case, your case will be listed by the court for review. This is before any substantive court hearing.
At review the tenant can access free legal advice from duty advisers.
If an agreement is not reached at review, you and the other party agree, and the case is deemed suitable, then the case will be referred to mediation. The court can then arrange for your case to be mediated.
tenants who are interested in mediation should raise this with their duty adviser on the day of the review. Details of how to access duty advisers will be given to tenants by the court.
landlords who are interested in mediation should raise this with their representative (if they have one), and the tenant on or before the review.
How mediation works
Mediation can be less stressful and expensive for you than going to a full hearing, where additional fees and expenses will apply.
It can also be quicker than a full court hearing. The Society of Mediators aims to conduct mediation remotely within 10 days of referral. If mediation is successful, the court will then be informed and the case closed. While mediation may help you avoid a full court hearing, it will not delay your ongoing court process. You must continue to comply with all court directions.
The session is confidential.
If both parties cannot agree to a solution at mediation, your case will continue to a full hearing. The court will not be told any of the mediation details.
Mediation will be conducted remotely, by telephone, across England and Wales.
Once you and the other party have agreed to mediation, your details will be passed to the Society of Mediators, who will contact you by phone to arrange the mediation. They will make contact within 2 days of the review.
During your appointment the mediator:
- will explain how the session will work and check the parties are prepared
- is impartial and will treat both parties with equal confidentiality
- speaks to each party separately - you do not talk directly to the other side
- is neutral and helps each party explore options to try and reach agreement
- does not try to force you to find a settlement
Get the most from mediation
For mediation to work you should:
- be open and flexible
- be willing to work with the mediator to find a resolution
- be clear with what you want to say
- be able to answer any questions
- have a quiet, private space where you won’t be disturbed
- be available at the start of the session and throughout
You might find it helpful to have access to legal advice during the mediation. However, this is often not possible and mediators are aware of this.
What happens next
If mediation succeeds and you are happy with the proposed solution, you will sign an agreement, which will be put in front of a judge for approval. The agreement will explain what actions each party must take next.
You can apply to the court to enforce the agreement if it is broken by the other party.
If mediation is unsuccessful, the case will continue to the substantive hearing. The court will not be told about anything that was said during the mediation and the process will proceed as normal.