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Lettings agents welcome proposals to roll-out dispute resolution in courts

But Propertymark's response to MoJ consultation is clear that dispute resolution must be early as possible in process otherwise it's usually 'too late'.

Nigel Lewis

Lettings agents have told the government that the further roll-out of alternative dispute resolution within the private rental sector could prevent many evictions and other cases from reaching the courts.

The comments have been made by Propertymark within its response to the Ministry of Justice’s consultation on dispute resolution, which it hopes can enable faster and cheaper evictions for agents and landlords.

But like many other players in the evictions process including the Property Redress Scheme, which operates its own mediation service, Propertymark says the earlier that alternative dispute resolution is introduced, the greater likelihood of a good outcome for all concerned because ‘waiting until cases reach court is simply too late’.

As well as court hearings, the MoJ has hinted that dispute resolution may be rolled out to include property tribunals as well. These are where most leasehold wrangles, fair rent applications and property licensing breaches are currently heard.

Lettings disputes

faye greaves propertymarkFaye Greaves (pictured), Policy Officer at Propertymark comments: “Dispute resolution is not always appropriate and suitable, but when it is, letting agents play a key role in preventing and resolving disputes to help keep tenants in their homes and the rent flowing for landlords.

“The UK Government has a unique opportunity through their Renters’ Reforms agenda to strengthen and promote alternative dispute resolution for landlords and tenants, and to restore confidence in the justice system.”

For the past nine months, the department of housing has been running its own mediation service pilot for evictions costing some £2 million.

This has been offering a free, dedicated service staffed by seven clerks to engage with possession claims as they progress through court and facilitate settlement without a substantive hearing, where possible.

November 4, 2021

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