Minister highlights role of mediation in resolving housing disputes

Date published: 09 July 2020

Topics:

Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín has urged tenants and landlords in the private rented sector to avail of the Housing Mediation Service as a route to resolving disputes.

Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín is pictured with Housing Mediator Faith Westwood and Mediation Manager Laura Coulter
Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín is pictured with Housing Mediator Faith Westwood and Mediation Manager Laura Coulter

The Housing Mediation Service, delivered by Housing Rights and funded by the Department for Communities, is available to all private rented sector tenants and landlords (who are registered with the departments Landlord’s Registration Scheme). It aims to offer an accessible, effective and proportionate means of resolving a dispute and avoid, where possible, going to court. 

Since its launch in November 2019 the pilot service has worked with parties to resolve issues around repairs, anti-social behaviour, arrears and evictions.

At a meeting with Housing Rights, the Minister said:

“The private rented sector has grown significantly and is now home to more tenants than the social sector, housing many who are vulnerable and on low incomes.  This pilot mediation service is playing a vital role in helping many tenants and landlords come to agreements on a range of issues, avoiding the need to go to court, preventing evictions and sustaining tenancies. 

“I would like to thank Housing Rights for their work in this very important area.  The pilot scheme will run for two years and my department will draw on the experience of the service users to develop future services for landlords and tenants.”

Laura Coulter, the Housing Mediation Manager at Housing Rights said:

“The service has really come into its own over the past two months, when in a time of financial uncertainty and worry we have been able to help many private tenants and landlords deal sympathetically with each other to ensure lost income won’t result in a lost home.  When both parties agree to participate in mediation an independent mediator with specialist housing knowledge helps the parties talk about the dispute and arrive at a solution which works for all.”

Anyone who feels they would benefit from this service can apply online at Housing Rights or phone on 028 9024 5640 and select option 6 or email mediation@housingrights.org.uk

During the meeting, the Minister also took the opportunity to thank all staff throughout the organisation for their crucial role in providing advice throughout COVID-19 across all tenures.

The Minister said:

“The expert, independent advice Housing Rights offers is invaluable and available all year round but it has certainly provided a lifeline to many throughout this crisis.  I thank everyone for their dedication and professionalism in supporting many in our community.”  

Notes to editors: 

  1. Photo caption: (L-R) Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín is pictured with Housing Mediator Faith Westwood and Mediation Manager Laura Coulter.
  2. Media enquiries to DFC Press Office on email Press Office
  3. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The Duty Press Officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.
  4. Follow us on twitter @CommunitiesNI

Share this page

Back to top