Our Experts Answer:
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).