Landlord and tenant gripes fixed by phone
LANDLORDS and tenants have begun settling their disputes with a professional mediator over the phone.
The Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) is responsible for solving disputes between owners and renters.
Last year the body processed 3,374 adjudication and mediation applications, dealing with some 6,000 allegations of wrongdoing.
Common disputes include allegations that a tenant has fallen into rent arrears and that tenants have caused damage to a property beyond reasonable wear and tear.
Problems also arise over allegations that a landlord has unfairly retained a deposit or that they have given an invalid notice of termination of a lease.
Of these cases last year, a total of 774 were dealt with by phone calls with mediators.
The success rate for disputes being solved over the phone is high, with about three-quarters of cases where the parties engaged with mediators resulting in an agreement.
According to the PRTB, sorting through disputes over the phone allows both parties to air their grievances from the comfort of their own space at a time that suits them.
While disputes between neighbours, tenants or landlords can often become confrontational, phone mediation bypasses this.
Both sides are contacted individually and, through a series of calls, the mediator facilitates the parties in coming to an agreed resolution within weeks.
Neither party is required to speak with the other during the mediation process, meaning it is less adversarial.
The average processing time for telephone mediations is 10 to 12 weeks and the compliance rate is very high, according to the PRTB.