Advice on using mediation in property management disputes

Mediation involves negotiating a deal and bringing about a resolution – and this requires a certain skill-set as Carmela Inguanta, Head of Litigation at Brady Solicitors, explains.

The role of a mediator is to work with both parties, on an independent basis, to reach a compromise that everyone can work with and move on from. A good mediator can be incredibly valuable in resolving property management disputes, including service charge cases, so long as all those involved are ultimately willing to participate.

To explain, mediation is a voluntary, informal and confidential process that allows parties to get together and discuss their problems with an impartial mediator to help them settle their differences and reach a negotiated settlement, without the need to go to court.

The process can involve a round-table meeting with all parties but, usually, the parties will sit in separate rooms with the mediator acting as an intermediary. The mediator will hold separate discussions with each party, with the aim of reaching a negotiated settlement.

How to find the right mediator for your property management dispute

You need your appointed mediator to understand the subject matter but also to be able to connect with the disputing parties and quickly gain their confidence. Impeccable listening and communication skills are vital: at the end of the day mediation is about delivering a meeting of minds.

At Brady Solicitors we frequently turn to mediation to resolve service charge arrears disputes – but finding a mediator with the right skill-set and the expertise to deliver a result can be a challenge if you are new to the mediation game.

We are fortunate to have worked with several talented property management mediators but also rely on personal recommendations, independent directories such as the Legal 500, and specialist mediation chambers.

Once you’ve drawn up a shortlist of potential mediators, review their CVs to compare relevant experience and I would also recommend a telephone call to check their approach and potential ‘fit’ with your client and the dispute at hand.

How much does mediation cost?

Cost-wise you can expect to pay anywhere between £500 and £5,000 per day based on the mediator’s expertise and experience. This cost is shared by both parties. As with most things, you get what you pay for so my advice would be to head mid-range – and avoid the lower-cost options as you may well find they don’t have the experience nor skill-set that you need.

Even at the higher end of the scale it is almost always cheaper to resolve a property dispute through mediation rather than at court, where legal fees can mount up very quickly.  With mediation you are in control of the process and the associated costs.

What are the other advantages of mediation?

The other key advantages of mediation over litigation are speed, flexibility and relationships.

Mediation can be arranged quickly and bring about a swifter resolution. On the flexibility front, mediation gives greater freedom in determining the matters to be discussed and included in any negotiated deal.

Perhaps the most important advantage of mediation however is its ability to help preserve relationships: mediation gives the parties the opportunity to speak openly and discuss all the circumstances, this allows them to understand each other better when emotions get in the way.

Specialist help with resolving property management disputes

At Brady Solicitors we specialise in the property management sector and have the skills, expertise and approach to help you resolve your property management issues, whether through litigation or by using alternative routes such as mediation. To find out more about how we could help you, please do get in touch with our property management solicitors.

Call Brady Solicitors on 0115 985 3450 or click here to send an enquiry.

Get in touch with our experts

With hundreds of years’ worth of combined experience, our experts have dealt with nearly every leasehold property matter you can imagine. If you’re currently in need of legal support or advice, please get in touch.

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