Partners and Suppliers Sandy Bastin 07/10/2022

Does Mid Tenancy Mediation Help to Sustain Tenancies?

At the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS), we are always looking for ways to improve the private rental experience for agents, landlords and tenants alike by adding new services and improving existing ones.

One of those services is TDS Resolution, a free mediation service that aims to facilitate dispute resolution without further action.  

Not to be confused with the adjudication service offered to resolve end-of-tenancy deposit disputes, TDS Resolution focuses on disputes that occur during a tenancy, which as many landlords will be aware, can cause costly delays and time-consuming disputes.

Last year, we extended our mid-tenancy resolution service to include common problems such as repairs, entry rights and property standards. Here, we share our results and findings from the past year.

What are the common issues of mid tenancy disputes?

It's helpful to know the common complaints when it comes to mid tenancy disputes.

Some interesting trends have been observed in the data we collected, with the most common issues brought to TDS Resolution being:

  • Rent arrears
  • Breach of tenancy terms
  • Repairs
Percentage of requests by dispute areas
Rent arrears 37%
Breach of tenancy terms 17%
Repairs 13%
Property standards 12%
Entry rights 7%
Threatened evictions 7%
Noise/anti-social behaviour (except serious anti-social activity) 7%

Who's contacting TDS Resolution?

At TDS Resolution, most mid-tenancy complaints have come from our landlords, with almost 74% initiating a complaint over just 26% of tenants, a vast difference from our end of tenancy dispute resolution service, which finds most complaints come from tenants.

Tenants tell us that this service is valuable to them and a useful tool to avoid eviction, reach an amicable agreement and sustain their tenancy.

We're reaching out to multiple tenant support organisations in light of this feedback, so even more tenants are aware of this service.

A TDS Resolution case study

In a recent mediation, TDS resolution dealt with a tenancy that was already £6,000 in arrears.

The dispute

The tenant, a Ukrainian national, was referred to TDS Resolution. The conflict in their home country had a damaging effect on the family and they were in need of support.

The landlord was open to mediation. He wanted to establish a regular payment system and improve communication between the parties, instead of putting the family though further struggles and himself though a costly court proceeding.

The mediation

The mediation process took about two hours. The mediator acted as a facilitator to ensure that the parties stayed on task. A three-way video call via Microsoft teams was used for the session. Each party made their statements and expressed their desired outcomes. The landlord wanted a repayment plan in place to ensure consistent payments were being made, communication between the parties to improve, and the tenant to provide the necessary information for right to rent checks for the tenant and his family in addition to regular payments.

The agreement

After discussions, the parties reached a compromise. The tenant would pay a specific amount each month, in addition to the current rent to clear his arrears. The tenant agreed to set up a standing order to pay the fees. The tenant would alert the landlord if for any reason payments would not be made or would be late. The tenant would provide the necessary information so that the landlord could request right to rent checks for all relevant parties by the specified date.

The landlord would allow the tenant to remain in the house and would allow the tenant's family to move in from Ukraine. A successful mediation resulted from this compromise, as well as mutual understanding.

Has TDS Resolution really helped to sustain tenancies?

The most important statistic of the year in review is how successful TDS Resolution has been at providing a satisfactory mid-tenancy dispute resolution.

Positively, of the cases that have been within our remit, the success rate this year has been a very encouraging 85%. 

When both parties engaged in mediation as early as possible, we managed to nip disputes in the bud before they escalated beyond repair.

Advice for Landlords

The mediation process is straightforward to use and consists of four simple steps:

  1. Have a complaint to raise? TDS Landlords can complete a resolution referral form via the website here.
  2. Providing the case can be taken forward, TDS Resolution will make contact with the other party within five working days.
  3. If the other party agrees to engage in the process, a resolution meeting is arranged with a mediator and the parties.  The session may involve the parties meeting online with the mediator or may take place by telephone, with the mediator speaking to each party separately.  The sessions are confidential, and the mediator's role is to facilitate agreement. 
  4. Agreements are confirmed in writing to the tenant and landlord after the session.

Not with TDS? Join today or contact our switch team to see how easy it is to switch! NRLA members also receive a discount on TDS Insured.

Sandy Bastin

Sandy Bastin Head of TDS Adjudication Services

Sandy Bastin is a qualified solicitor with many years’ experience practising and specialising in real estate, Sandy joined Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) in 2008 and is now Head of TDS Adjudication Services. Sandy is responsible for recruiting and training TDS adjudicators, providing continued support and mentoring to include quality assurance activity to ensure the high standards expected from TDS adjudication decisions are met.

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