Government Details Of Arrears Mediation Scheme
The government has at last released details of its arrears mediation scheme – this was hinted at when Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick last extended the ban on bailiff enforced evictions in February. Now the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has issued details.
The arrears mediation scheme pilot is free to use for landlords and tenants and will involve as a third party a trained neutral mediator, independent from HM Courts and Tribunals Service, to help identify issues and work to resolve them.
The MHCLG says this arrears mediation scheme may be quicker than a full court hearing, adding: “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 mediation will be conducted remotely, by telephone, and the ministry says one or both parties may nonetheless want to have legal advice.
Then, following one or more meditation sessions, “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.”
It continues: “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.”
The mediation scheme has already won in-principle support from the Association of Residential Letting Agents.