The Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE) and National Leasehold Group (NLG) have jointly developed a new initiative to improve redress for housing association leaseholders in dispute with their landlord.
The new Mediation and Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE) service is intended to deliver earlier resolution in cases where all other options have been explored.
Leaseholders and Housing Associations will both be in a position to suggest mediation in situations where it is clear that disputes are not being resolved by existing operational means or complaints processes. Each case will be dealt with by qualified mediators provided by LEASE and the service is being funded via subscription from a number of key Housing Associations. The service responds to findings and recommendations that came out of the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) report into Residential Property Management (2015), which highlighted the need for quicker and less expensive methods of redress for Leaseholders in dispute with their Landlord. In addition, and as long ago as January 2013, Inside Housing reported that social landlords faced at least 113 challenges in the then leasehold valuation tribunals – and in 59 cases (52 per cent) they were told to write off or reduce bills.
Board members and operational staff at both LEASE and NLG, as well as subscribers, mediators and evaluators have been involved establishing the new service ‘Alternative dispute resolution’ has a good success rate because it puts the parties in the driving seat and not relying on the judgment of a court or tribunal over which they have no control.
Almost 12 Housing Associations have already subscribed to the service since it launched in 27th June.
Tony Essien, Chief Executive of LEASE, said:
“I am delighted that the NLG has worked with us in addressing recommendations of the CMA report and that LEASE is being trusted to deliver this new service. I am sure that, working with the NLG, we can further develop the offer and enhance the redress experience of Leasehold customers.”
“I am delighted that the NLG has been able to drive this response to the CMA report. Our members have been keen to support a positive response to the report and we are proud that, for the first in this sector, Housing Associations can be seen to be leading the way.”
As Tony Essien explained: “Our key objective is to ensure that we can avoid cases ending up in First Tier Tribunal unnecessarily”
The service is accessed via the LEASE website via its ENE and Mediation portals and will be promoted by participating HAs and the NLG alike.
Further information can be found in our advice guide
The NLG members subscribing to the new service are:
Notting Hill Housing
Thames Valley Housing