In this post I describe my Experience of Swift Phone Mediation through Tenancy Services, the Department of Building and Housing.
After my tenants had repeatedly been late on their rent payments and after two 14-day notices to remedy, I paid $20.44 to apply to the tenancy tribunal for mediation.
I submitted my application, including a summary of rent arrears, tenancy agreement and bond number, online. This was quite easy to do since I have a fully equipped office but you can also mail the relevant documents. I immediately received conformation my application was being processed and within a day or two a SWIFT phone mediation was scheduled for two week’s time.
SWIFT phone meditation is used to resolve simple claims like rent arrears and I found it very handy – all I had to do was make myself available to receive a phone call from the mediator at a prearranged time.
Needless to say, the tenant didn’t have the courtesy of doing the same but the mediator chased him up and we did have a conference call two days later.
The mediator called me and made sure I was free to speak (after calling me the day before to make sure I would be available at that time). She then allowed the tenant to join us and explained the mediation process.
We then discussed our desired outcome and agreed that half of the amount would be paid in a week’s time and the other over the next 2 months – not ideal but better than not getting paid at all.
The mediator then summarised the outcome as discussed, asked both sides to confirm they agreed to this, witnessed the agreement and closed the call. Within hours I was sent by email a mediator’s order to review which contained our agreement in writing. After approving it, the mediator will post the order, which is a legally binding agreement, to the tenant.
If the tenant fails to pay the rent arrears as agreed, I can take it to court and a debt recovery agency.
Overall, I found the SWIFT phone mediation fast, efficient, effective and non confrontational – all I hope for now is for the tenant to follow through and pay on time.
I would recommend that any landlord in a similar situation use SWIFT mediation rather than hope and wait for a tenant to pay. A ‘mean business’ attitude will ensure problems are solved early and both sides can enjoy a smooth relationship.