Communtity Law Manual | Tenancy & housing | Mediation: Help with settling a dispute with your landlord

Problems with your landlord: What you can do

Mediation: Help with settling a dispute with your landlord

What is mediation?

Mediation gives tenants and landlords a chance to talk about and solve their problems. A free mediation service is available through Tenancy Services.

A trained mediator will help you and your landlord discuss the problem, identify the disputed issues, and try to come up with a solution that works. The mediator won’t decide the dispute – that’s for you and the landlord to work out together.

Mediation is confidential. It’s a private meeting between you, the landlord and the Tenancy Services mediator. Sometimes mediation meetings happen face-to-face; sometimes they’re over the phone.

How do I take my dispute to mediation?

Residential Tenancies Act 1986, s 87

Contact Tenancy Services and tell them you have a tenancy problem that you want to take to mediation. Even if you wanted to go straight to the Tenancy Tribunal for a decision, the tribunal would usually send your case to mediation anyway to see if things could be resolved in that way. But in some situations, your case might go straight to the Tenancy Tribunal, because it’s urgent or because it’s not suitable for mediation.

Either the tenant or the landlord can make an application to start the process. It costs $20.44 to make an application.

If a case goes to the Tenancy Tribunal because one side refused to go to mediation, the tribunal may order that side to pay the costs of the tribunal hearing, as well as making whatever other order the tribunal thinks is needed in deciding the case.

What happens if the landlord and I reach an agreement at mediation? What happens if we don’t?

Residential Tenancies Act 1986, ss 88, 99, 102

If you and the landlord reach an agreement, the mediator will usually write it down and get you both to sign it. This makes it legally binding on you both, just the same as if the Tenancy Tribunal had decided your case and made an order. Just as if it was a Tribunal order, you can get the agreement enforced by the District Court if the landlord ignores the agreement.

If you and the landlord can’t reach an agreement at mediation, your dispute can go to the Tenancy Tribunal.

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