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Complaints Mediation: A Look At a Recent Case

complaints mediation

The longer complaints continue without a resolution the harder it becomes to find one. Complaints also become much more time consuming and costly for a housing association to manage as time goes on. That’s why it’s always beneficial to implement mediation as soon as possible. That said, it’s better late than never.

Here we’re going to look at a recent case to highlight how complaints mediation works and how it can help you resolve disputes. We will look at how complaints mediation can save you time, money and resource.


Let’s start by looking at how the initial situation was when we first received the referral from the housing association.

The complaint came about after the housing association had completed repair works on both neighbouring properties. The owner occupier suspected that this work had caused damage to their property and wanted the housing association to address the issue.

In this case the owner occupier had gone through stage one and two of the complaints procedure, however they had not found any kind of resolution to move forward with.

Both the housing association and the owner occupier wanted to communicate verbally, rather than through written processes. They both wanted to be heard, understood and to find a way forward.

How the complaint unfolded

The owner occupier made their stage one complaint and the housing association arranged for an independent survey.

The survey took place and along with it came some recommendations. However, the owner occupier was not happy with the findings and wanted a follow up report.

When the second survey was due the owner occupier wasn’t home to provide access to the property. The surveyor then attended a second time and were told that they couldn’t carry out the survey as they hadn’t made a prior appointment.

The owner occupier then submitted their stage two complaint stating that the housing association had still not completed the repairs to their property. This resulted in the housing association arranging another independent survey. This frustrated the owner occupier and they refused to go ahead with this.

Mediation introduced

Both parties agreed that third party mediation would help.

After we spoke to each party individually it was clear that they wanted to move the situation forward. This is important for mediation to be successful – all parties need to want to find a resolution.

It was clear that going through the complaints procedure was taking up a lot of the owner occupier’s time and energy. It was starting to have a negative effect on their mental health. They wanted a solution.

The housing association acknowledged that the repairs to the neighbouring properties had caused some damage to the owner occupier’s roof and they were prepared to fix it. They did however feel that the owner occupier was being obstructive.

Following these initial sessions we arranged the joint mediation meeting with both parties. The real positive aspect of the pre-meeting sessions in this case was both parties then came to the meeting with clear, realistic expectations in terms of the potential outcome.

The result

As an interim agreement, the parties agreed to conduct a new survey. They also agreed on which company would complete it. Then, once this survey was done they agreed to a follow up mediation meeting to discuss the findings, the work that it recommended, and timescales for the housing association to complete the work.

This second mediation was successful and both parties reached an agreement on the proposed works. This meeting very much focused on the future and how they would communicate more effectively if they needed to moving forward.

The feedback

The owner occupier:

“It made such a difference having you in the room and not having to put everything in writing to the housing association. I am not good at getting my point across and you really helped me look at it from a different perspective.”

Housing association:

“It was good to sit and chat with them instead of reading their complaints. We will be recommending other services within the organisation use mediation when dealing with complaints as it takes the stress out of the situation.”

In conclusion

Like we said at the beginning of this piece, it helps to implement mediation early. This would have saved a lot of time and stress for both parties in this example. The most effective way to implement mediation is by making it part of your complaint handling process early.

Learn more about this here: Make Mediation Part of Your Complaints Process

You can also find out more about our Handling Tenant Complaints service here. Or talk to us by calling 01772 954602 or emailing

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