Property Redress Scheme
Tenancy Mediation Service
PRS Mediation is brought to you by the Property Redress Scheme, a government authorised consumer redress scheme for the private rented sector.
What is mediation?
It’s an interactive way of sorting out disputes between landlords and tenants, with the help of a professional third person (that’s us) who won't take sides. We bring both common sense and expertise to find solutions that work for both landlords and tenants. Disputes can relate to rent arrears or other issues that have arisen during a tenancy.
With COVID-19 affecting notice periods and court processing times, it is more important than ever for landlords and tenants to look at different ways of solving their disputes
Why should I use mediation?
- It’s quick – we can solve disputes within, on average, 10 working days.
- It’s easy – the landlord completes an instruction form, and we take care of the rest.
- It shows you’ve been reasonable by trying to sort things out before going to court.
Did you know? In most cases, landlords are required to give a minimum of six months’ notice to tell a tenant that their landlord wants them to leave. After this, where a tenant has not left, the landlord will need to take legal proceedings to get their property back and to get a County Court Judgement (CCJ) for the amount of the rent arrears. The Courts are taking as much as 12 months (or more) to do this.
A way through the mess We can help you by reaching an agreement with your tenants about how they will repay any rent arrears. Often we are also able to reach agreement with tenants to leave the property on an agreed date.
A tale of two landlords
Mr C was owed 3 months’ rent arrears when he gave his tenant 6 months’ notice. When the notice expired, he started legal proceedings for rent arrears (now over 9 months’ worth) and possession. The Court is telling him that it will be at least another 6 -9 months before his case gets to a review hearing. At that time the Court will expect him to use the Court’s own mediation service before any hearing can take place. By this time rent arrears owed are likely to be over 18 months’ worth.
Mrs J was owed 6 months’ rent arrears when she contacted us for help. We were able to agree with the tenant that they would leave the property in 2 months time, pay their normal monthly rent for that period, and pay back their arrears over the next 6 months. To make this happen, the landlord agreed to reduce the rent arrears by 2 months. This was documented in a legally binding agreement which explained to the tenant that if the terms of the agreement were broken, the ‘deal was off’ and the landlord would be able to claim the full amount of rent arrears from the tenant. Mrs J was able to limit her loss to 2 months rent, avoid increasing rent arrears, and avoid the time and cost of court proceedings.
How does it work?
Our process involves two steps – and the first part of the process is free.
1. Asking us to help
Complete our mediation instruction form. We will contact the tenant to see if they want to take part. If they choose not to, or if we can’t get hold of them after 5 working days, we will update you and close the case. This part of the process is currently free of charge.
Where a tenant chooses not to take part, we will produce a report for you at a cost of £25 plus VAT showing the steps we have taken. You can use this report at Court to show that you tried to mediate.
2. Reaching an agreement
If the tenant does want to take part, we will find out more about the tenant’s circumstances and what they can offer you. We then work with both parties to put together a proposal that works for both of you. For a typical rent arrears case, this usually means a rent repayment plan which avoids the need to go to Court.
This can require a couple of calls and emails. We expect a typical mediation to be resolved in 1-2 hours of discussion, over roughly 10 working days – but often sooner if the circumstances allow. We will record the agreement reached in a legally binding document signed by both parties.
Where no agreement can be reached, we will produce a report for you showing the steps we have taken. You can use this report at Court to show your efforts to resolve the dispute.
• All mediations are charged at £200 plus VAT.
• Some cases can be more complex and time-consuming and we reserve the right to charge an additional hourly mediation fee of £100 plus VAT. We will confirm your agreement to this before incurring any additional charges.
• If the mediation agreement that we have reached results in the tenant leaving the property, an additional charge is payable, based on the total amount of outstanding rent arrears set out in your Mediation Instruction Form:
Total amount of outstanding rent arrears Additional charge due (plus VAT)
• up to £7,000 £200.00
• £7-15,000 £400.00
• £15-25,000 £600.00
• £25-35,000 £800.00
• £35-50,000 £1,000.00
• £50-100,000 £1,500.00
• Over £100,000 £2,000.00
Why do we make an additional charge when a tenant leaves the property?
Because of the increased notice periods and waiting times for court hearings, we are seeing rent arrears owed to landlords increasing dramatically. If tenants are already unable to pay, going to Court just makes the debt bigger. Most commonly, landlords using our mediation service have arrears of less than £25,000 – meaning a cost of up to £600. The time and cost of legal proceedings can easily be significantly more than £2,000 – with an increasing rent arrears debt along the way.
Instruct us now
Complete the form or call 0203 907 1857 to find out more or start your mediation. We can to discuss your case with you to help you decide what is best for you.