Housing Possession Mediation scheme could save on expensive lengthy evictions

by Property118.com News Team

9:55 AM, 28th April 2021
About 2 weeks ago

Housing Possession Mediation scheme could save on expensive lengthy evictions

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Housing Possession Mediation scheme could save on expensive lengthy evictions

 The pilot of the government’s Housing Possession Mediation Scheme can help letting agencies and landlords recover arrears without lengthy waits for court evictions, according to PayProp. Launched recently by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the free arrears mediation service aims to help parties resolve disputes more quickly without the need for court action.

Mediation can be requested by landlords or tenants at the review stage of their possession case. Once a case has been referred, the Society of Mediators aims to conduct the confidential mediation process remotely within 10 days.

 During a mediation appointment, the mediator will speak to each party separately to help them explore their options and reach an agreement. If unsuccessful, the case will continue to a substantive face-to-face court hearing.

 If the mediation succeeds, an agreement which explains what actions each party must take next will be signed and brought before a judge for approval. If the agreement is broken by either party, the other party can apply for the court to enforce it.

 “Mediation will not solve every issue between landlords and their tenants. However, if approached by both parties to the rental agreement with an open mind and flexibility, the government’s mediation scheme can help to remove the need to go to court, which is usually in everyone’s best interests,” says Neil Cobbold, Chief Sales Officer at PayProp.

 “The scheme is new this year, so it’s important that letting agents make landlords aware of how it works so they can assess all the options available to them when attempting to repossess a property.”

 Backlog of court evictions expected over the summer

 The mediation scheme could be a vital resource for letting agents and landlords over the coming months as the industry prepares for the end of the ban on bailiff-enforced evictions, currently scheduled to be lifted on May 31.

 “Even before the pandemic, pursuing possession of a property through the courts could be time-consuming and expensive. Due to the unprecedented circumstances of the pandemic, a huge number of cases from last year are yet to be heard by the courts,” explains Cobbold.

 According to data from Landlord Action, just 7,451 evictions of an expected 28,000 took place in the county courts in 2020. As a result, a significant backlog of court cases is expected when evictions are allowed to take place once more.

 “This means that any landlord starting the eviction process now could have to wait months before their case is heard in court. Alternatives such as the Housing Possession Mediation Scheme could be a lifeline to those who have already been dealing with issues for a prolonged period – while also freeing up court time for those cases where a mediated agreement can’t be reached.”

Avoid court evictions with holistic approach to arrears

 Cobbold adds that it will take some time for the courts system to return to something close to a normal service. Even then, an eviction through the courts will still be a long and potentially expensive process.

 “When independent mediation works, it can help property professionals to come to an agreement with tenants, sustain tenancies and recover arrears more quickly than pursuing an eviction and a County Court Judgement.”

 He adds that it’s vital for agents to put processes in place to reduce the chances of arrears becoming serious in the first place.

 “This includes keeping digital records of all payments, while also chasing rent automatically using the most effective methods of communication.”

 “Educating tenants about the financial support options available to them and organising affordable repayment plans can help landlords and agents to collect more of the rent they are owed. By having these measures in place, agencies can add value for landlords from the start of a tenancy and reduce the chances of court eviction action being required at a later date,” Cobbold concludes.

Comments

DSR

11:08 AM, 28th April 2021
About 2 weeks ago

All a load of Bull. No Landlord would be seeking to evict a tenant unless for serious rent arrears/damage/ASBO, all of which do not require 'mediation'.
Any decent LL would have tried as much mediation as possible when the courts first shut knowing its going to be a longwinded (and costly ) exercise to get any possession through the system - therefore any evictions in the system now, and where new notices are being issued are only going to be the serious ones which are beyond mediation!
Another attempt to make decent LL look bad, when the truth is the system can't cope with the amount of claims....all brought about as a direct consequence of policies to protect those nightmare tenants so they and LA's don't have to deal with.
DSR

Ian Narbeth

12:28 PM, 28th April 2021
About 2 weeks ago

This type of "service" only exists because the courts are backed up for months and landlords are involuntary creditors. We do not need mediation schemes with our banks to discuss our overdraft. We do not need them with HMRC to discuss whether we pay 100p in the £1 of our tax liability or some lesser figure. We do not mediate over whether our electricity bill is payable in full.
This is just a way of saying to some landlords: Look your tenants owe you thousands. You won't get to court for months so why not try this? Mediation works if there is a dispute and some reasonable argument about the facts and the consequences of those facts, e.g. about repairs.

If a tenant owes £5000 he owes £5000 and if the tenancy allows the landlord to charge interest, that debt will increase by 42 pence a day which isn't much of a penalty. Mediation will just operate to "persuade" the landlord to write off some of that debt in exchange for not incurring further losses.

David Price

12:39 PM, 28th April 2021
About 2 weeks ago

The Ministry of Injustice is trying everthing to keep tenancy cases out of court, just look at the vouminous information a landlord has to provide under the new pre action protocol. A complete waste of time.
I produced pre action protocol for 31 tenants in January, not one responded, several days of my time and circa £20 in postage alone plus £100 in printing costs just to delay porceedings by a month. We are ruled by blind donkeys, unseeing and stubborn.

David Price

12:40 PM, 28th April 2021
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Narbeth at 28/04/2021 - 12:28
My tenants know that they have paid more than I have recorded - but cannot produce the receipt.

Monty Bodkin

12:48 PM, 28th April 2021
About 2 weeks ago

This should be made to work both ways.

A refusal to communicate and mediate should be an automatic rubber stamp possession order.

DSR

14:15 PM, 28th April 2021
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Narbeth at 28/04/2021 - 12:28
I shall also be strongly opposing ANY 'suggestion' for me to mediate with any of my rent owing tenants subsequent to court proceedings. Unless it becomes a legal requirement to do so then the courts cannot enforce it NOR act detrimentally when it is rejected. I will quite happily explain why if requested - and at that point they would realise they shouldn't have asked....

DSR

Ian Narbeth

14:20 PM, 28th April 2021
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by David Price at 28/04/2021 - 12:39
David, as far as MPs are concerned the minimum wage for landlords' time is zero pounds and zero pence per hour. They can, however, recover this in full when they eventually get judgement.

DSR

14:23 PM, 28th April 2021
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by David Price at 28/04/2021 - 12:39
all it is is putting more hurdles in the way in the hope LL's cave in and don't progress to proceeding to court.
For most LL's this wont happen - we are already fully aware they system is against us, so are prepared. My father always says 'if you are right, you are right'.
Should a decent LL always have to feel like soldier going into battle to fight a right cause on ever shifting sands?

LaLo

19:55 PM, 28th April 2021
About 2 weeks ago

Whenever I've tried to go for arrears I've never got it - the tenants seem to disappear- no communication- not a penny paid. It's a complete waste of time and money! Just simply lining the pockets of ------ ! It's not worth the expense- worry - stress. I'm now very, very selective who I take on as a T.. but no guarantees!

Mick Roberts

18:11 PM, 2nd May 2021
About 2 weeks ago

DSR says it all. Us with certain tenants would have already tried everything. With some tenants, there is no reasoning.

As Ian says:
This is just a way of saying to some landlords: Look your tenants owe you thousands. You won't get to court for months so why not try this

And David Price says the same. It appears we in the real world know what does & don't work.


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