Residential Property Tribunal guidance

The First-tier tribunal – Property Chamber (Residential Property) has five regional offices which provide an independent service in England for settling disputes involving private rented and leasehold property.

Legislation has given the tribunal powers to settle certain types of dispute which would otherwise have to be dealt with by the courts. The tribunal aims to provide an easier and cheaper access to justice. While there is a scale of fees for some, but not all, types of dispute, there is no fee for dealing with disputes about the price payable for the acquisition freeholds or lease extensions and Market or Fair rents.

The tribunal has no powers to become involved in disputes about commercial property.

Scotland and Wales have their own tribunal systems for hearing private rented and leasehold property disputes.

Who sits on tribunals

Each region has a Regional Judge, assisted by one or more Deputy Regional Judges or Deputy Regional Valuers, who is responsible for the tribunal members and in particular decides which members should be appointed to hear and decide a particular case.

Tribunal members are appointed by the Lord Chancellor:

  • The Chairman, who is a judge or surveyor, is responsible for the conduct of the case and writes  the reasons for the tribunal’s decision.
  • Other members may be surveyors, other professional people or lay people.
A chairman may sit alone, but the tribunal is more likely to be made up of a chairman and one or two members.

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Rent Cases

The tribunal can decide on the following types of dispute:

  • When a landlord or tenant of a regulated tenancy has objected to the fair rent assessed by The Rent Officer, the case will be referred by the Rent Officer to the tribunal to determine the fair rent
  • When a tenant with an assured tenancy or an assured shorthold tenancy applies for a determination of an open market rent for the property after the landlord tells the tenant that it plans to increase the rent (by serving the tenant with a notice in the form, Landlord's notice proposing a new rent under an Assured Periodic Tenancy or Agricultural Occupancy
  • When a tenant with an assured short hold tenancy applies within the first six months of the tenancy for the rent to be adjusted on the basis that the rent is excessive.
  • Where a fixed term assured or assured short hold tenancy has ended and the landlord or tenant has served a notice proposing new terms, the recipient of the notice can ask the tribunal to determine new terms for the statutory periodic tenancy.
  • Where a long lease at a low rent governed by the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 has expired. Rent Assessment Committees: Market Rents.
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Leasehold Enfranchisement Cases

The tribunal makes decisions on various types of dispute relating to residential leasehold property.

Valuation and terms of acquisition

On an application to a tribunal it can determine:

  • the price to be paid and the terms of acquisition when a single leaseholder wants to buy (enfranchise) the freehold or extend the long lease of their house and the value cannot be agreed with the landlord
  • the price to be paid and the terms of the new lease when a single leaseholder wants to extend or renew the lease of their flat and the value cannot be agreed with the landlord
  • the price to be paid when a group of leaseholders wants to buy (collective enfranchisement) the leases of their flats and the value cannot be agreed with the landlord
  • the amount of landlord's costs in dealing with an application to acquire a freehold or extend a lease
  • the amount to be paid to acquire a freehold where a landlord is in breach of the right of first refusal.

In addition, in cases where the freeholder or landlord is missing and cannot be found, on a reference to it from the court, the tribunal can determine the price to be paid and the terms of the conveyance or lease.

Leasehold Disputes

On an application to the tribunal it can determine:

  • The liability to pay a service charge and administration charge and by whom, to whom, how much and when a charge is payable
  • Whether to dispense with or to modify the landlord’s requirement to consult with leaseholders before carrying out major works and recharging leaseholders for these works via the service charge
  • Whether an administration charge should be varied
  • The liability to pay an estate charge and by whom, to whom, how much and when a charge is payable
  • Whether an estate charge should be varied
  • Whether an estate management charge should be varied
  • Whether to vary long leases of flats
  • Whether a Right To Manage Company is entitled to acquire the right to manage on the relevant date
  • Whether a Right to Mange Company is entitled to acquire the right to manage where the landlord is missing
  • The amount of costs incurred by the landlord (or other party to the lease other than the landlord and tenant) or a manager appointed in association with the exercise of the Right to Manage
  • The amount of accrued uncommitted service charges to be paid by landlord/third party/manager to an Right To Manage Company
  • Whether to appoint a manager of premises containing flats and who that manager should be
  • Whether there has been a breach of a covenant or condition in a lease of residential property

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Housing Act 2004 Cases

The tribunal can determine a number of appeals and applications including:

  • Determine an application made by a Local Housing Authority (LHA) for Empty Dwelling Management Orders (EDMOs) and appeals against Empty Dwelling Management Orders (EDMO's)
  • Determine appeals against Improvement Notices
  • Determine appeals against Prohibition Notices
  • Determine appeals against Emergency Remedial Notices and Emergency Prohibition Orders
  • Determine appeals/applications for Demolition orders

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Park Homes Cases

The tribunal can determine a number of applications in respect of park homes including:

  • Determine an application by an occupier for an order requiring the site owner to give him a written statement as to the terms of the agreement to occupy as required by the Act. (NB. This type of application is not available to an occupier of a transit pitch on a local authority (including county council) gypsy and traveller sites)
  • Determine an application by an occupier or a site owner to imply additional terms into an agreement (NB. This type of is not available to an occupier of a transit pitch on a local authority (including county council) gypsy and traveller sites)
  • Determine an application by an occupier or a site owner to vary or delete express terms in an agreement and/or for an order to give effect to those terms (N.B. This type of application is not available to an occupier of a transit pitch on a local authority (including county council) gypsy and traveller sites)
  • Determine an application by an occupier or a site owner relating to any question under the Mobile Homes Act 1983 or the agreement
  • Determine an application by a site owner for authorisation to terminate for breach of agreement or because the sole or principal residency test is not met
  • Determine an application by a site owner relating to detrimental effect of a home on the amenity of the site
  • Determine an application by an occupier for the tribunal’s approval of a donee for the purposes of a gift of the mobile home and assignment of the agreement
  • Determine an application by a site owner for the tribunal’s approval for the temporary relocation of the home on another pitch forming part of the site
  • Determine an application by an occupier for an order that, where the owner has required the home to be stationed on another pitch so that he can replace or carry out repairs to the base on which the home is stationed, the owner must secure that on completion of the replacement or repairs the home is returned to the original pitch
  • Determine an application by a site owner for an order that the pitch fee is reviewed and for a determination of the amount of the new pitch fee
  • Determine an application by a site owner for an order that proposed improvements be taken into account when the pitch fee is reviewed.
  • Determine an application by the secretary of a residents association for an order recognising the association as a qualifying residents' association.
  • Determine an application by a site owner for a termination order on the ground that (a) the occupier has breached a term of the agreement and after having been given notice to remedy the breach has failed to do so within a reasonable time or (b) that the occupier is not occupying the home as his only or main residence or (c) that having regard to its condition the home is having a detrimental effect on the amenity of the site. In all of these cases the ground also requires that the tribunal considers whether it is reasonable for the agreement to be terminated.

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Guidance documents

Rent Cases

Market & Fair Rent disputes

This guidance document describes the procedures for objections to fair rents determined by the Rent Officer under the Rent Act 1977 and applications made under the Housing Act 1988 for a determination of an open market rent for the property

Guidance on Rent Cases T540

Leasehold Cases

Service Charges, Administration and other Management Issues
This guidance describes the procedure for applications made to determine disputes on Service Charges, Estate Charges, Administration Charges, Right to Manage, Variation of a Lease, Appointment of a Manager, Right to Manage, Landlord Choice of Insurer, Forfeiture and dispensation with Service Charge Consultation.

Guidance on Service Charges, Administration Charges and other Management Issues T541

Leasehold Enfranchisement
This guidance describes the procedure for application made to determine disputes on Leasehold Enfranchisement, Lease Extensions, New Leases and right of First Refusal.

Guidance on Enfranchisement T542

Tenants' Associations
This guidance describes the procedure for applications made for the recognition of Tenants Associations.

Guidance on tenants association T545

Park Homes cases

Park Homes disputes
This guidance describes the procedure for applications made for disputes involving Park Homes

Residential property - Park homes T544

Right to Buy cases

Right to Buy
This guidance describes the procedure for applications made to determine the sale of a dwelling suitable for occupation by elderly persons.

Guidance on Right to Buy Cases T546

Housing Act 2004 Cases

This guidance describes the procedure for applications and appeals relating to Improvement Notices, Prohibition Orders, Demolition Orders, Emergency measures (Unfit properties), Empty Dwelling Management Orders, licensing of houses in multiple occupation (HMO's), Selective licensing and other residential accommodation, Interim and Final Management Orders (MO's) under the Housing Act 2004, Rent Repayment Orders.

Guidance on Housing Act 2004 Cases

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HM Courts & Tribunals Service

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