Deep Insight Aidan Crehan 26/01/2022

Mediation & Redress


Each quarter the NRLA invites landlord members to participate in our policy research programme. Each quarter between 1,000 and 2,000 members give their views on a range of policies, initiatives and proposals which might be having an impact on their business.

A recent survey (2021, Quarter 3) looked at the topic of mediation and redress. Seeking possession of property can be a lengthy process for landlords, especially when the process goes to court. The NRLA supports new approaches to dispute resolution and the development of a new landlord/tenant conciliation service.  


Mediation involves a trained, impartial person acting as a referee in a dispute between landlord and tenant. At present use of mediation services is limited. There have been trials, most notably the Government’s own mediation pilot scheme, but take up has been low.

Despite the objective of mediation being to avoid court proceedings, a backlog of possession cases in the courts persists.

The NRLAs New Deal for the Private Rented Sector sets out a series of reforms which would benefit tenants as well as landlords.

Landlords were asked to rank improvements that could be made to the mediation process and enhance the service.

Landlords' priorities for mediation

Landlords have clearly outlined their priorities for a functioning mediation system that could assist in alleviating the pressure on the courts:

  1. Freely accessible service: landlords most frequently ranked mediation services being available for free as the most attractive improvement that could be made.
    • Over half of landlords chose this as the most attractive improvement. This indicates the importance of cost as a factor in choosing this route for dispute resolution (53%).
  2. Mediation to start prior to applying to court, to prevent any delays in possession proceedings: for landlords this was the second most important enhancement, highlighting a desire for efficiency throughout the process.
    • Mediation is an attractive proposition if it provides a speedy recovery of property, whether that be through successful mediation or the courts.
  3. The creation of legally binding terms that the tenant must follow, whilst accepting that failing to do so would add to the landlord’s case in court proceedings: though most landlords ranked this as the third most attractive improvement to mediation, almost a quarter (23%) ranked this as the most important factor.
    • A significant group of landlords are here showing a desire for mediation to have clear legal consequences.
  4. Breach of a mediation agreement would lead to higher priority in hearings:  over half of landlords ranked this as the least attractive improvement (53%).

It seems for mediation to work for landlords, it should be characterised as an early intervention that's free at the point of use with binding terms for both parties to stick to. 


The Government is considering legislating to require all private landlords (including private providers of student accommodation) to join a redress scheme. The aim is to ensure consumers have access to a 'Housing Complaints Resolution Service’. 

This would be a single point of contact to help consumers access housing redress across all tenures. More information about the proposals can be found in this Government press release.

Awareness of these plans is however low: just 13% of landlords stated they were aware of these proposals at the time of the survey, though a larger proportion had a “limited knowledge”.

Landlord awareness of Government plans for redress


There is currently a substanital backlog of possession cases, meaning landlords are waiting long periods of time to recover their properties. Mediation and redress schemes exist as two methods that could prevent high numbers of landlords being stuck waiting in this system. Unfortunately mediation services are currently underused and awareness of the Government's plans for redress schemes is low.

If mediation services are to be utilised to assist in preventing court cases, landlords have noted this service should first and foremost be freely available. A desire for mediation to take place prior to going to court also highlights a desire for efficiency throughout the process, settling matters quickly as to not cause further delays in the recovery of property is key. Over a quarter of landlords also prioritised binding terms for both parties to stick to as a result of mediation. 

Redress is another mechanism for dispute resolution between tenant and landlord. The Government's plans for the introduction of a redress scheme show their desire to reduce pressure on the courts. Awareness of this scheme amongst NRLA members, typically more engaged landlords, is low however with just 13% of landlords aware.

Aidan Crehan

Aidan Crehan Research Officer

Aidan Crehan worked as a Research Officer for the NRLA. Aidan is a politics graduate who has previously worked with Northern Ireland's Department for Communities, specifically focusing on community reconciliation projects. Aidan worked closely on the NRLA's various research outputs, looking at issues such as possession, regulation, and enforcement. Aidan left the organisation in April 2022 for a post with the civil service.

See all articles by Aidan Crehan