Case Study – Community 1

Jane is an 88-year-old lady who lives alone in a small block of four flats. Properties in the block are normally let to mature tenants.

When the flat opposite became empty, a young lad, Lee, moved in.

Jane's concerns:

Jane complained to her housing officer that Lee had lots of visitors and that the police often called to his flat. She said that he looked menacing because he had a shaved head, tattoos and a vicious dog. She did not think that Lee should have been given a flat in such a nice block, and anyway he was too young. She wanted him to be moved.

Lee's concerns:

Lee complained that Jane was always looking out of her window, watching him come and go. It was his first tenancy and he did not want to lose it and felt that the council would believe Jane's complaints because of her age and that she had lived there for a long time.

The Mediation Process

First Visits

At first Jane did not want to meet Lee face to face, however, the mediators explored her concerns and gave her the confidence to do so.

Lee welcomed the opportunity to meet with Jane as they have never previously communicated.

Face-to-face meeting

They met at a nearby community room. Lee explained that it was his first home of his own, and that he had recently been assaulted. His many visitors were his relatives helping him settle in, and the police called a number of times because Lee was helping them to take action against his attackers.

Jane explained that she was very nervous living on her own and was scared of Lee and his visitors; she explained that she is regularly intimidated by similar looking youths who hang around the shopping precinct when she goes to collect her pension.

During the face-to-face meeting she realized that Lee was after all a nice lad and posed no threat. Lee understood why Jane was scared but reassured her that she had nothing to worry about.

Case Update

After the session the two became friends, Lee often running little errands for Jane and regularly walking to the post office with her to collect her pension.