The government is anticipated to make an announcement today about a compulsory mediation before at least some evictions take place in the private rental sector.
This process will relate to circumstances where tenants have accumulated COVID-related arrears.
For some time, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has been launching pilot schemes in areas around the country, where mediation has been used by agents, landlords and tenants.
The government reveals that this process can avoid evictions if an agreement can be made between both parties. Under the new pilot scheme, the system has been free to use for landlords, their agents, and tenants, and involves an independent trained neutral mediator to help uncover the issues.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government says that under the pilot scheme, following one or more sessions, “if mediation succeeds and you are happy with the proposed solution, you will sign an agreement, which will be put in front of a judge for approval. The agreement, which will be put in front of a judge for approval. The agreement will explain what actions each party [landlord/ agent and tenant] must take next.”
It is still unclear when the system will be adopted and when this will become compulsory, nor if the mediation will be applied to all future evictions after the COVID-related arrears crisis has been resolved.
Many lettings agents and landlords trade bodies have called for taxpayer financial packages to be agreed, to resolve the COVID-related arrears issue. However, this does not appear to be an option appealing to the government.
More details will be released today in the House of Commons.