Housing Providers

Disputes between tenants

Since its inception, Wandsworth Mediation Service has partnered with housing associations and the Housing team at Wandsworth Council to mediate issues between neighbours – be that over noise, parking, litter issues etc. The beauty of using WMS is that we have trained and supervised mediators who are impartial and bring confidentiality into the situation, which is key in social housing disputes.

Once a mediation case has been referred to us, we contact the parties and arrange for 2 experienced mediators who would be best suited to the case to take it on.  First, both mediators visit each party in their home to “hear their story”. If parties are not comfortable with a home visit the meeting can take place in a nearby café or community space. This first meeting will normally be arranged within 2 weeks of the case being referred.

Then if the parties agree, we aim to set up a round table meeting at our offices in Wandsworth, with both mediators and the parties to talk through the issues and try to find a way forward.

For more information please contact the community case managers, Kirsten or Sarah.

Conflict Management Course for Housing Officers

Having worked with Wandsworth Council and a number of Housing Associations for over a decade, we have recently developed a course specifically for housing officers that:

Helps to equip housing officers to handle the first stages of conflict and to have the right knowledge and information to refer them to mediation if necessary.

The objectives of this course are to:

  • Look at the different models of conflict and styles of conflict
  • Empower participants to deal with conflict in a more positive way
  • To introduce mediation and discuss the key principles: future thinking, win/win, positions and interests, active listening etc.
  • To encourage participants to develop the skills of a mediator (through specific housing-related role plays)
  • To discuss ideas to help resolve the dispute prior to referring a case to mediation.

The contents of the course are to:

  1. To understand what conflict is, how it starts and how it can escalate
  2. To understand the layers that are under anger and conflict and the role of feelings in conflict
  3. To introduce mediation, its purpose and the key principles:
    • Voluntary participation
    • Confidential
    • Impartial
    • Forward-looking
    • Focus on the problem
    • Win/win situation
    • Parties agree to own solutions
  4. To introduce the role of a mediator (to understand that we all carry assumptions and prejudices and the need to put these aside for mediation).
  5. Look at the key skills of a mediator; - active listening and questioning, I-messaging, handling strong emotions, separating facts and feelings, empathising, summarising and asking open-questions.
  6. Understand when mediation isn’t appropriate

This course can be held at the housing providers office or at WMS office. It is ideal for new housing officers to equip them to deal with disputes as they are the first point of call for the neighbours.  WMS can help at any time, but we have found that the longer the dispute continues, the harder it is to persuade the parties to agree to mediate. For more information please contact the service manager, Jenny.