What types of issues does the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) handle?
Disputes between landlords and tenants regarding rent and repair issues make up a large proportion of cases which end up in the First-tier Tribunal Scotland. There are a wide variety of issues that can be dealt with, including:
tenants asking landlords for property repairs
landlords carrying out property repairs
landlords’ rights of entry
wrongful tenancy terminations
rent increase disputes
The First-tier Tribunal Scotland also provides information to landlords and tenants. This includes:
information for both landlords and tenants regarding letting agent regulations
information on hiring property managers (or ‘property factors’)
What is the process for new applications?
In order to apply for a hearing at the First-tier Tribunal Scotland the relevant form must first be filled in and submitted, according to the type of dispute. Lists of forms can be found on the First-tier Tribunal Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber)’s website.
Applying to the First-tier Tribunal Scotland is free of charge, but the Tribunal has the power to award expenses against a party.
Additional information may be requested by the tribunal, before they make a decision as to whether to hear a particular case. Some cases can be decided on the application alone, without any need for a hearing (known as a 'written representation'), provided that both parties agree to this. Both parties must also be given the opportunity to comment on the other’s representation before the Tribunal will consider the evidence.
How are hearings conducted?
As mentioned above, decisions on written representations can be concluded based on the application and any supporting documents. In this case, a decision will normally be sent out within 4 weeks.
If there is an oral hearing, this is held in public. The case can be presented by the individual making the application, or their lawyer, a surveyor, a friend or family member. Questions may be asked by representatives of each party, and the First-tier Tribunal Scotland panel. The Tribunal will usually give its decision on the day, after considering all the evidence. The decision will then usually be sent out within 4 weeks of the hearing, along with a statement setting out the reasoning behind the decision.
If either party is unhappy with the decision, they can ask the Tribunal for permission to appeal within 30 days of the decision being made.
Can I recover costs in the First-tier Tribunal Scotland?
Generally, both parties should bear their own costs of submitting their case to the Tribunal, irrespective of the outcome. The Tribunal can however award expenses against either party. This can only be done where one party’s conduct amounted to unreasonable behaviour and as a result, put the other party to unnecessary or unreasonable expense. The exercising of this power is not linked to the case’s outcome and it will not be automatically awarded.
For further information about recovering costs at the First-tier Tribunal Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber), see their website.