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The Southwark Arbitration Service was set up to resolve disputes between the council and its tenants, and between the council and leaseholders.

The tribunal process has been designed to enable the tribunal to act independently and has proved to be a quick, simple and informal way of resolving disputes between the Council, its tenants and leaseholders. In order to be eligible an applicant must have exhausted Southwark Council's formal complaints process prior to a case being heard by the panel. The process is free to users and being informal there is usually no need for legal representatives.

Types of disputes

The types of complaints from tenants that we can deal with are contained in the Tenancy Agreement (Conditions of Tenancy) booklet, and include:

  •  disrepair
  •  missed appointments
  •  lack of heating and hot water
  •  standard of repair

The types of complaints from leaseholders that we can deal with are:

  • alleged unreasonable action with regard to the right to buy sales process
  • alleged breaches of covenant, excluding those which fall under the jurisdiction of the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal

The Arbitration Service does not consider service charge disputes between leaseholders. A new Homeowners Arbitration service has been set up to deal with service charge disputes, you can find more information on our MySouthwark Home Owners (MSHO) page.

How does it work and what to expect at a hearing

The arbitration tribunal is not a part of the Council and composition of the panel is as follows: one elected tenant or leaseholder representative, an independent chairperson and a councillor. A qualified housing law expert acts as a legal advisor to the panel.

Upon receipt of your application the Council will contact you within 5 working days to advise you of the hearing date. The hearings take place at the Council’s offices at 160 Tooley Street.

Both you as the tenant or leaseholder, and us as the council can go to the hearing and be represented. The tribunal may call witnesses and question any witnesses that are called.

The tribunal panel will allow you to question the officer representing us and any witnesses. The tribunal aims to provide written judgment within twenty eight days of the hearing.

The decisions of the panel are binding on both the tenant or leaseholder and the council.

For more information, download the full rules relating to the arbitration service:

How to apply

The easiest and quickest way to make an arbitration application is to complete our simple online application.

If you're having difficulties completing the form, call the Arbitration Service on 0207 525 7429 or email,

Page last updated: 01 July 2020


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