An official report into whether people involved in litigation should be forced to take part in alternative dispute resolution (ADR) has cleared the way for this – until now – voluntary mechanism to be forced on warring parties.

Recommendations within the report by The Civil Justice Council, which was commissioned by the Master of the Rolls Sir Geoffrey Voss, would usher in new regulations to mandate landlords and tenants who are involved in contested evictions to enter into mediation before going to court.

Published today, the lengthy report (see link below) will have far-reaching ramification for the courts and tribunal service and particular for possession cases involving landlords and tenants.

It also name-checks the pilot ADR scheme set up earlier this year to try out mediation among feuding landlords and tenants prior, largely to try and alleviate the pressure on courts as eviction volumes rise post-Covid, highlighting some of the problems encountered.

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“One of the early lessons of the possession ADR pilot has been that because no legal advice is available during the mediation, duty solicitors are reluctant to advise clients to mediate under the pilot scheme and litigants-in-person were very reluctant to take,” it says.

master of the rolls geoffrey voss

The Master of the Rolls (pictured) adds: “I am grateful to Lady Justice Asplin and the working group for this excellent report.

“They conclude that it is possible, where a court process remains available, lawfully to mandate ADR.

“As I have said before, ADR should no longer be viewed as ‘alternative’ but as an integral part of the dispute resolution process; that process should focus on ‘resolution’ rather than ‘dispute’. This report opens the door to a significant shift towards earlier resolution.”

Mike Morgan (pictured), Legal Division Manager at HF Assist and Mediation, says: “We’re pleased to see this report into the potential for compulsory ADR, and the recognition that forms of ADR, such as mediation, need to be made an integral part of the justice process.

“Doing this will make them more common and more widely used. For housing and tenancy disputes our experience shows that to be effective and get the best results, the earlier mediation happens the better. 

“Offering this when disputes have reached court can be too late, and highlights the need for better education of consumers as to how they can resolve disputes quickly and effectively.”

Tim Frome, Associate Director at Hamilton Fraser, says: “Achieving resolution through an ADR process is much quicker and more cost effective than using the courts.”

Read more about mediation. Read the report in full.

8 COMMENTS

  1. What a croc of sxxxt just another hurdle to beat us with when dealing with bad tenants, don’t these people get it landlords don’t take action against decent tenants

  2. LL seeking repossession mostly do so because of feckless rent defaulting tenants.

    LL don’t want or need mediation they just want the rent paid in full and on time.

    No amount of mediation will manage that.

    Most LL wishing to retain a tenant will have come up with a payment plan.

    This being the case they won’t be seeking eviction!!

    So mediation won’t make any difference.

    All it will do is make the eviction period even longer.

    Plus it will cost the LL even more.

    Mediation won’t make it any easier for a tenant to afford rent.

    Perhaps any mediation should occur as soon as the first rent default occurs.

    Then 45 days later if rent arrears haven’t been paid with NO court action required the tenant to be removed by the LL with Police assistance if required.

    That 45 day period would include two missed rent payments and a 14 day NTQ.

    No more lengthy eviction processes.

    This would only be for rent default.

  3. Same as above comments….plus…this eviction ban has lead to evictions as (my) tenants have being living a life of Riley, using his rent for his life style, mediation won’t make rent fees reappear and they’ll be further in debt and… CCJ’s mean squat now in the consumer market; miss two payments, in clause of contract you pay up two more if not immediate out!

  4. Having fallen asleep half way through reading the full report I can only say that it feels very similar in its set up to how things were prior to AST’s when the whole sector ground to a halt in the 80’s

    It’s clear from the word count in the report that it’s going to become a solicitors dream as loopholes will appear as night follows day. The report itself is highly convoluted in order to get around currently established case law, that in itself is a starter for 10 as Bamber Gascoyne used to say.

    Bottom line is that no one can force someone to become a landlord and conversely no one can stop landlords selling up and leaving tenants to their fate.

    The whole current war on landlords has a huge whiff of The Emperors new clothes about it….

    Without cooperation from investors the PRS is heading full steam into the buffers. No amount of legislation is any good to anyone if no one is prepared to invest in or remain in the PRS.

    As risks increase and rewards diminish the logical conclusion must be PREXIT

    As Investors (landlords) EXIT the PRS for pastures new.

  5. Hi Beryl…

    Fair point… My take on that is thus…

    CGT is not going to be abolished, the only way to avoid CGT is not to enter the sector in the first place. However, there are many ways to reduce one’s exposure and remember that at the moment Basic level income tax is 20%…. CGT is less at 18%

    There is less CGT on shares, it is levied at either 10% or 20%, depending on whether you are a basic-rate or higher-rate taxpayer

    Shares in an ISA wrapper are free of CGT

    I would argue that shares or unit trusts are lower risk than the PRS at the moment and lower tax. Yes the returns may be less but taxed at a lower rate so may well balance out.

    Buying unit trusts takes a few mins online and requires zero work unlike the PRS which even with a letting agents needs effort especially if one factors in the work involved in the buying and selling process.

    All investments carry risks, lower risk investments pay less and higher risk investments pay more.

    Its up to the individual to decide where they want to sit on that scale.

    Sell now or sell later the tax burden will always be there one way or another however for me personally the risk/reward equation is has tipped markedly against the PRS and the future regulations are all heading in one direction at the moment.

    One final point… If not managed / planned for correctly Inheritance Tax will be levied at 40% of your ENTIRE estate.

  6. No one in their right mind would invest in the PRS now with the Tory government’s outright, relentless and frenzied onslaught against (predominantly) law-abiding citizens going about their lawful business.

    Some have concluded that this onslaught is to drive small private LL’s out of the sector in favour of corporate investors, however I think the bigger motive is that there are far more tenants than there are LL’s numerically, so it is simply, and cynically, to continue to retain the newly won ‘red-wall’ constituencies along with greater weight in others due also to the visceral and demented envy and resentment I have read endlessly against PRS LL’s online from non property owners.

    PRS LL’s are invariably ranted at as being ‘greedy’, due to looking to make profits in housing from the service of accommodation provision. Any other trader that makes profits in the same sector – builders, plumbers, electricians, mortgage brokers and providers, DIY stores, gardeners, painters and decorators, carpenters, domestic appliance retailers etc etc – are not so accused. How absurdly ignorant and jaundiced is that? Unfortunately it is due to this that the PRS LL’s are being sacrificed.

  7. Hi John….

    I think the idea of corporates taking over is a bit over blown too… with 4.5 million households in the PRS that is a massive amount of real estate…. Unless bill gates wants to get into the PRS with all the downside risk ha ha ha

    The cladding situation has hit corporate investors / developers hard too.

    I think you are on the money… far more tenants (Voters) than landlords and no one understands the financial model of the PRS so its easy and lazy to label landlords as greedy. Property is thought to have risen 15% recently therefore rents need to rise by the same amount to balance the books but the likes of Sadiq Khan are not interested in facts.

    Just as Boris is described as rich when he is worth less than 2 million including his home. Yet Starmer is worth close to 12 million but the “Rich Public Schoolboy” label sticks to Boris when Starmer is worth 6 times as much, yet is labelled Mr nice guy….

    I don’t care how much either one is worth it’s just a good example of how the villain and hero labels are so easily manipulated and confused in the minds of the public.
    MANY landlords are not rich at all and when the dust settles and the evictions have gone through, we will discover landlords who have lost thousands in the last 18 months.
    If there is a large exodus of investors from the PRS then Boris better start buying up hotels big time to house all the homeless.

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