Tenancy mediation scheduling

Question from Nola updated on 5th April 2012:

Tenancy Services has declined my request for a face to face mediation as the adviser says that choice remains with the applicant. When I gave the reasons for the face to face request I was told that even with a face to face meeting I am unable to present the added portions of documents omitted by the applicant. I can only raise the issue at mediation and see where that goes. I was also advised that (despite written instruction from my employer not to conduct tenancy issues on work time) I must go to my employer and tell them that they would just have to accept that telephone mediation would occur in work time. Can the landlord be denied face to face mediation in this way?

Our expert Jeff Montgomery responded:

Occasionally the Department receives requests from parties to mediate in a face to face forum, when mediation by phone has already been scheduled. As mediation requires the participation of both parties, any request for a face to face mediation should be agreed to by the other party before any changes are made to the scheduled mediation. Where work or personal commitments make it difficult for either party to attend at a scheduled time and/or date, the Department will make every effort to reschedule the mediation to the mutual satisfaction of both parties (provided that it is within normal office hours). Where a party other than the applicant (“the other party”) holds documents which they believe should be discussed, they are able to do so during the mediation regardless of whether it is by phone or face to face. In most cases the presentation of documents is not a crucial factor to the success of the mediation. However, the mediator (with the consent of both parties) may feel it is appropriate to reconvene the mediation to allow for the documents to be produced. If the parties do not reach agreement at mediation the dispute would normally proceed to a Tribunal hearing where the other party may take whatever documents they feel are required to refute the claim made against them. To discuss your situation further or for information about the mediation or Tenancy Tribunal process, you can visit the Department’s website (www.dbh.govt.nz), or call 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262).

The Department of Building and Housing provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.

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