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Using mediation to solve issues with neighbours

Clarion

If you are struggling to resolve a dispute with your neighbour, mediation can be an effective and practical way of dealing with many issues, and is available to all Clarion residents.

It is important to try and to get along with your neighbours, but on the occasion that problems arise - including behaviour that could be considered low-level antisocial behaviour, such as loud music, parking, and boundary issues - disputes can cause upset and distress.

We want you to feel safe and comfortable in your home and community, so if you are having any issues mediation may be something you would like to consider. Please note that in some cases, mediation won’t be suitable, such as when there is criminal activity involved or other serious breaches of tenancy.

Mediation - which is fully-funded by Clarion at no additional cost to you - provides an opportunity for you and your neighbours to communicate better, understand each other’s concerns, explore solutions and compromises, and work out an agreement that will settle the dispute as quickly as possible.

The mediation organisations we use are independent and vary across the country. Be rest assured that these organisations will keep any information shared during the sessions confidential. Nothing discussed will be passed back to Clarion and will stay strictly between the parties involved and the mediator. The mediator can feed back whether the session has been successful or not, but will only disclose details if both parties agree.

When can mediation be used?

Mediation services can be used to resolve problems such as access and parking, and low-level antisocial behaviour, including excessive noise.

  • Parking Issues
  • Boundary disputes
  • Differences In lifestyle/culture
  • Shared access
  • Diagreements between neighbours
  • Excessive noise
  • Pet and animal nuisance

What are the possible benefits of mediation?

Our mediators are highly skilled and experienced at what they do and will aim to help you and the other party reach an effective resolution that both sides are happy with. Mediation helps to improve communication between you and your neighbour, and fosters more positive relationships. It also keeps matters private and avoids the issue escalating to court.

In nine out of 10 cases mediation is successful at helping people reach an agreement. Residents have reported that as a result of taking part in the process they felt happier in their home, more comfortable, and less anxious about tensions with their neighbours. It can also lead to better communication between the two parties.

However, success is not always a guaranteed outcome and in this instance we will work with you to find an alternative solution and next steps.

What happens during the mediation process?

If mediation is for you, we will make a referral to the mediation organisation in your area.

The majority of mediation services we use adopt an informal process and will involve the mediator who will speak to each party separately, relaying messages back and forth so that the involved parties do not need to meet face to face. Even if the other party won’t agree to mediation, you can still speak to a mediator to discuss any issues you may have.

Please note that due to current COVID-19 restrictions, most mediation is taking place over the phone.

It is up to you and the other party to decide what issues you would like to discuss during the sessions. Your mediator will invite you to focus on the priorities that, if resolved, will bring the most benefit.

What happens if the other party has declined to take part?

In this case, you can still meet with the mediators to discuss your situation and they will be able to suggest ways to make improvements if possible.

How long does the process take?

This varies from one organisation to another and can depend on things like resident availability for meetings, but mostly the aim is for the process to take three months from referral to closure. In terms of session times, again the length differs between organisations, however most aim for each private introductory meeting to take up to an hour and the mediation sessions with both parties can take up to two hours.

How can I access the mediation service?

During the early stages of your case, your Neighbourhood Response Officer or Tenancy Specialist will offer the service to you. If this is something you would like to take part in, a referral will be made to one of our mediation services in your area.

If you have not been offered the service but would like to participate, you can request this with the member of staff that is managing your case.

If I agree to mediation and then change my mind, what are my options for discontinuing?

Mediation is 100% voluntary and you can withdraw at any point during the process. If you agree to participate and then change your mind or feel uncomfortable, just let us know. We’re here to help and support you whatever you decide.

Similarly, if the other party is not interested in mediation their decision is respected and the process will not proceed.

Are there any risks during mediation?

Your safety and comfort is our highest priority. At the start of the mediation process your housing officer will complete a referral form where any risks can be highlighted. Your mediator will then make an assessment when they get in touch with you and the other party separately as part of an introductory meeting.

It is extremely rare for a mediation session to get out of hand, however if this occurs and emotions are raised, the mediator can pause the session, speak to each side separately, or end the meeting.

Can I bring someone with me to the meeting?

Yes, you are welcome to have a supporter, however if they don’t live in your property they will be unable to speak during the sessions.

Can my Neighbourhood Response Officer (NRO) resolve my issue for me without mediation?

When our NROs are first made aware of any issues between residents they will try and informally resolve the issue. For example, this could be by asking one of the residents not to park in a certain way that causes an issue for the other resident.

If after mediation the problem recurs, what happens next?

Mediators will always include in their meeting what you need to do if there are any problems in the future. An agreement will be reached on how participants will communicate and both parties are encouraged to follow what is agreed.

It is important that if you are experiencing issues to consider mediation early on to try and nip the issues in the bud.

Clarion resident

How mediation helped me

“A relatively minor issue occurred between myself and my neighbours, and it changed what had been a very good relationship for 10 years and was very upsetting.

“Mediation was recommended and both myself, and my neighbours agreed to take part. I had a meeting with the mediator who explained the process clearly and allowed me time to talk about my side of things.

“Unfortunately, my neighbour then withdrew and decided they didn’t want to take part. Although this was disappointing, it reinforced that mediation is voluntary and I still found the process to be beneficial as I found out a lot about mediation and I felt talking to the mediator, who was an impartial third party, helped me put things into perspective.

“It is important that if you are experiencing issues to consider mediation early on to try and nip the issues in the bud.”