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Landlord Tenant Mediation Works


Views within the PDPLA have been split – there are those who argue vehemently that we need a mediation option to avoid the high cost associated with obtaining an eviction and those who say it is a nice idea, but how could it work when the relationship has reached a stage where eviction is inevitable and anyway, it can never be a relationship between equals, so how could it work?

Well – the good news is that the proof is in the pudding and so far, it does appear to be working. The pilot, initiated by our own Alwin Oliver working with Portsmouth Mediation Service and latterly, PCC, appears to be bearing fruit.

Unlike the national initiative where the Ministry of Justice is reported to have spent £250,000 on just 9 cases and appear now to have shelved the idea, the Portsmouth initiative was reviewed at the March meeting of the council Housing Cabinet and councillors approved funding for another year of piloting.

The pilot started in May 2021 and has now been extended to March 2023 with funding of £10k which is apparently sufficient to support another 75 cases.

The stats so far are good:27 cases referred to mediation, 21 now complete. Of those 21, 15 produced a positive outcome – 3 prevented eviction, 4 the tenant moved without resistance once his/her situation was understood, 7 resulted in a better understanding and relationship between all parties and 1 was just listed as 'resolved'.

Given the initial budget, the cases cost £130 each and with a better than 50:50 history of positive outcomes, it appears a very cheap alternative to the £2,000-£5,000 cost of eviction typically faced by landlords, without all the emotional costs and stress that both sides experience during the eviction process.

Councillors asked for better reporting of outcomes – wanting to collate success based on participant feedback rather than the administrators perspective, but other than that everyone involved was very positive – so if you have a situation where you and a tenant are having trouble seeing eye to eye, do consider mediation. Both parties need to agree to participate and there is a commitment of time – but compared to the time and cost of an eviction, we would argue that you would be daft not to try it. 

Alwin said "we should not just use the service, we should make our views known to the authority, particularly where there is a positive outcome, or where small improvements can be made as the service learns and grows". The mediation service is fairly exceptional across the country, made in Portsmouth and a victory for PDPLA lobbying. Let us know your views so we can continue a pro active dialogue with councillors and officials.

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