Whether you are a landlord or a leaseholder, disputes are likely to arise. It is worth knowing what options you have to help resolve any issues. A First-Tier Tribunal is a less formal and quicker option than court and can also be a less costly way to settle any problems.
Organised by Rent Assessment Panels under auspices of the Residential Property Tribunal Service, Tribunals are independent bodies usually consisting of a lawyer, a valuer and a lay person. They are governed by the ‘over-riding objective’ and may determine applications without a hearing.
Both landlords, freeholders and leaseholders have the right to apply to a Tribunal. The applicant does not have to be legally represented by a solicitor. In choosing so, they will be responsible for representing their case, as well as collecting the supporting documents and evidence as the Tribunal cannot aid applicants. They can, however give directions relating to submission of evidence for both parties. This includes expert evidence, reports, relevant documents and written statements. In some cases, there may be a short pre-trial review to help identify issues.
If there is an instance where several applications have been made on the same grounds, then the Tribunal may choose a lead case. All other cases will stay pending until it’s determination. Similarly, if an application is made by a leaseholder who wasn’t aware of a previous application of the same nature, the Tribunal may be bound by the previous decision.
The Tribunal has the power to strike out applications on the following grounds:
A Tribunal can assist in the following areas:
Cases that are not eligible:
Application forms can be downloaded from the Justice website but a written notice will suffice. Rules state it should be signed and dated, and include the following information:
The following will need to be included where necessary for each individual application:
The application should be accompanied by any relevant supporting documents.
Most applications are subject to a fixed amount payment of £100. If matters proceed to a hearing, another fixed fee of £200 will apply. If a determination is made without the need of a full hearing, no hearing fee will be payable.
Leaseholders will have to meet their own costs i.e. professional services. Landlord’s costs can also be recovered through service charges depending on provisions of the lease. This should be considered when making an application, although a further application can be made to The Tribunal to determine whether this should be waived.
Some cases may be transferred to the Upper Tribunal if they are too complex or they involve an important principle law or large financial sum. Applications can also be made to the Upper Tribunal to appeal against the final decision. If permission to appeal from the Tribunal is denied, new applications can be made to the Lands Tribunal. There are strict limits to be adhered by and reasonable grounds will be required e.g. the Tribunal wrongly interpreted or applied relevant law.
Hopefully, we have helped you to understand how applying to a First-Tier Tribunal may be of help to you. We aim to make managing/ living in your property both simple and enjoyable. If you have any other questions, please contact the Blocsphere Team!