When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Using mediation to solve problems

Mediation can often help to resolve problems between family members, neighbours or housemates.  It’s not an appropriate solution in every case but can be very effective.

Choosing mediation

If you’re experiencing a problem with a family member, neighbour, housemate or you’re a victim of anti-social behaviour, mediation could help you solve your problems. Mediation is when an outside person helps you find a solution that is acceptable to both sides.

If the Housing Executive or housing association has recommended that you use mediation to solve a neighbour or community dispute, the service will probably be free.

Situations when mediation can help

Mediation is not appropriate in every case but it may help to find a solution to your housing problems. Mediation is best at resolving short term issues. Mediation is only appropriate if both parties:

  • voluntarily choose mediation
  • are willing to be reasonable
  • are happy to contact the other party
  • can communicate

Mediation isn't an appropriate solution if:

  • one person won't negotiate
  • one person only wants to punish the other
  • one person is afraid of abuse, violence or harassment

The mediation meeting

Mediation can be as simple as a meeting between you and the other person on neutral ground, with an impartial mediator helping you to resolve your issues. The mediator's role is to encourage each person to:

  • talk freely
  • explain their point of view
  • find common ground, and
  • come up with an agreed way forward.

If you are unwilling to meet the other person, mediators can act as intermediaries, carrying messages between each of you until you reach an acceptable solution.

Mediation services

Housing Rights can provide mediation if

  • you are a young person aged under 25 who has a housing problem or
  • you are a private tenant and your landlord is properly registered. 

Mediation NI can also help you find an appropriate mediator.  The mediator may charge a fee for the service.

Housing associations should use mediation as a first step in resolving problems and complaints about noise, verbal abuse, children’s behaviour, pets, boundary issues, car parking and many other sources of dispute.  If both people involved in the dispute agree to mediation the housing association will provide this service free of charge. 

The Housing Executive offers a free and confidential mediation service for its tenants. A mediator appointed by NIHE can visit all those involved in the dispute and decide whether or not mediation might help. Contact your local Housing Executive District Office for more information.