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Resolving Tenant-Landlord Disputes: A TDS Resolution Case Study on a Broken Communal Heating System

TDS Resolution was approached by a tenant to seek assistance in resolving an issue with the broken communal heating system during their ongoing tenancy.


The mid-tenancy dispute

 

Tara Price, TDS’s Resolution Coordinator, reached out to the tenants to discuss their enquiry and what their expectations of mediation were.  The tenant disclosed that they were looking for a reduction in rent or a percentage towards their electricity bill each month due to having to run plug-in heaters.

 

Consent was provided by both the landlord and tenant and mediation was arranged promptly at a time that suited both parties.

 

The dispute resolution process

 

The parties came to mediation with an open mind. The tenants were seeking regular updates on the repair or replacement of the communal heating system and whilst they were waiting for it to be repaired/replaced they wanted either a reduction to their rent or a percentage of their electricity bill paid each month.

 

The session took around 3 hours. The mediator took on a facilitator role to ensure parties remained on the right track and focused on the task at hand.

 

The mediation session on this occasion was run as a 'shuttle mediation' due to the breakdown of the relationship between the parties. The landlord and tenant would take turns to speak individually to the mediator until an agreement was reached. Ideally, we would want to bring the parties together so that they could speak to each other, but in this case, this was not possible.

 

The sessions were held via Microsoft Teams in a two-way video call. Each party made their representations individually and expressed their desired outcomes from the session.

 

The tenant wanted a reduction to their monthly rent or a percentage towards their electricity bills. The managing agent wanted actual bills for the whole period of the tenancy so that she could calculate their 'typical usage' and potentially based on the increase she would look to offer a goodwill gesture to help towards the higher electricity bill due to them having to use plug-in heaters which were provided by the landlord.

 

The compromise agreement

 

After discussions, the dispute resolution process came to a compromise.

 

  • The tenant agreed to provide electricity bills for the duration of their tenancy, so the landlord was able to look at the average consumption for the property for the whole period of the tenancy so far. The landlord would review them and consider payment of compensation to the tenant based on any additional consumption arising from the use of portable heaters at the property.

 

  • The landlord agreed to provide regular monthly updates by e-mail so that the tenants were aware of the progress that is being made towards the repair of the communal heating system at the property.

 

  • An understanding was made that the landlord is not responsible for the execution of the repair, which is in the hands of the building freeholder.

 

The parties agreed to the compromise resulting in a successful dispute resolution process and mutual agreement.

 

Are you experiencing a mid-tenancy dispute?

 

We’re here to help.

 

TDS Resolution is a free, impartial property mediation service dealing with mid-tenancy disputes. To find out more about our dispute resolution process, visit our webpage and request a call-back. Our friendly team will contact you for a confidential chat.

 

Interested in finding out more about TDS? Join today or contact our switch team to see how easy it is to switch!

 

 

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