A resident mediator helps with tenant disputes 

Eight volunteer tenants have been trained as resident mediators who help Heka tenants to resolve disputes.

Written by Anne Penttilä Photos by Ville Rinne

A dispute between tenants often starts with some everyday thing, such as sounds or smells carrying from another apartment. 

- A small dispute between a few tenants can, in time, grow into a major conflict that compromises the housing comfort of the entire building and creates a feeling of a lack of safety says Project Manager Pia Slögs from the Community Mediation Centre, who also trains the volunteers. 

As she explains, the aim of tenant mediation is to increase communication and conflict resolution between tenants and the sense of community in buildings. 

The mediators listen, facilitate communication and help different parties to resolve their disputes themselves. The mediators do not judge who is right or wrong and are bound by an obligation of secrecy. 

Kirsi Azaize-Dria and Carita Rahimi applied for the resident mediator operations and went through a four-day training programme. 

- I have always enjoyed solving challenging situations and I want to learn more about people, says Azaize-Dria when asked about why she wanted to participate in the operations. 

- I wanted to develop myself and I enjoy working with people. Peace in the neighbourhood is the bigger picture; helping people have a nice place to live, states Rahimi as her reasons. 

According to Azaize-Dria, the training provided a good basis for mediation, although her first mediation case still came as a surprise. 

- It was a challenging situation. Mostly it is all about emotions, and the process is highly dependent on the people involved. When an understanding was finally reached, it also made me feel very content.” 

Resident mediation 

  • The mediator always partners up with a more experienced mediator, but not in their own residential area. 
  • Resident mediation is unpaid volunteer work. 
  • It promotes good community spirit and decreases resident turnover. 
  • Resident mediation makes work easier for building managers and housing consultants, who also help solve conflicts. 
  • You can reach a resident mediator by contacting your building manager, for example.