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Dealing with Rent Disputes Outside of Court

One of the difficulties of being a landlord is that tenants don’t always pay the rent. If this happens to you, the law is on your side and you can take steps to recover the arrears. However, rent disputes can be extremely stressful and they can also be difficult to resolve.

Most landlords think that their only option is to take the matter to court, but doing so is a costly and time consuming business and it is therefore better to avoid court proceedings if at all possible. Before attempting to reclaim your costs by applying for a money judgement through the small claims court, it is advisable to try and settle your dispute via other methods, although the threat of court action can often be enough to persuade a tenant to pay up.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alternative dispute resolution in the form of mediation is an alternative way of settling a rent dispute. Mediation is cheaper, less stressful, and in many cases more likely to end up with a positive outcome. In the first instance it is always a good idea to try negotiating with the other party to see if you can resolve the issue, but if you can’t reach a solution, mediation should be the next step.

What is Mediation?

Mediation is when a neutral third party becomes involved to help you and your tenant reach an acceptable agreement. Solicitors and property surveyors can act as mediators in a rent dispute; or you could engage a professional mediator instead. Professional mediators are trained to help resolve disputes between landlords and tenants, whether they involve rental arrears or not. Working with a mediator minimises costs and loss of income for a landlord and is more likely to lead to a successful resolution of the problem.

If you do decide to take the matter to the small claims court, a mediation service will be offered as part of the process and as long as the other party agrees to try mediation, the Small Claims Mediation Service will contact you in the early stages of your claim.

When Mediation is a Bad Idea

If the rent arrears involve a large sum of money, there are other issues, or you have been down this road before and it was unsuccessful (and nothing has changed), take legal advice instead.


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