Types of dispute that the Residential Property Tribunals (RPTs) can resolve are stated below.
Making an application for appeal
Processing the application for appeal
When the Rent Assessment Panel receives an application, the Clerk will write to both parties advising them of the next steps and enclosing a copy of the application for the Respondent. The parties will be asked whether they would like the case to be determined by written representations only or whether they would like to attend an oral hearing.
Unless either of the parties requests a hearing, the Clerk may write advising that the Residential Property Tribunal will determine the application on the basis of the written evidence given by the parties. Sometimes the Tribunal itself will decide that the fairest way to deal with a case is to hold a hearing.
Sometimes there may be uncertainty about whether an application is valid or whether the Residential Property Tribunal has jurisdiction. If this happens the parties will be notified and a hearing may be arranged to consider this preliminary issue. If the Residential Property Tribunal decides it can deal with the case it will go on to consider the matter on the same date or at some future date to be arranged.
Attending an appeal hearing
If either of the parties wants a hearing, the Clerk will write to the parties giving details of when and where the hearing will take place. Hearings usually take place in meeting rooms as close to the property concerned as possible, for example in the local Town Hall or in a church hall. Hearings organised by the London Panel generally take place at the panel offices in central London. These hearings are open to the public. Sometimes, for example if a tenant has restricted mobility, hearings can take place at the property itself if the tenant agrees.
Hearings are kept as informal as possible. Parties can state their own case if they wish or they may have someone to speak for them, for example a friend, relative or professional expert. Residential Property Tribunals seek to ensure that both sides have a fair chance to state their case, especially when one party to a case is professionally represented but the other party presents their case in person. Parties should not produce documentation for the first time at a hearing; otherwise the hearing will need to be adjourned to enable the other party to consider the new evidence.
Inspections of a rental property by the Residential Property Tribunal
Whether or not there is a hearing, the Residential Property Tribunal, generally accompanied by the Tribunal Clerk will wish to make an inspection of the property. Internal inspections can only be made if the owner or occupier agrees that the Committee may enter the property. Inspections may take place before or after the hearing, and are generally on the same day but may occasionally be on another agreed date.
Residential Property Tribunals do not normally take representations from parties or their representatives during the inspection, although limited exceptions may be made where both parties are present at the inspection and agree to the representations being made.
Respondent and their representatives may attend inspections if the owner or occupier agrees. However, they must arrange this with the owner or occupier before the date of the inspection. If the owner or occupier does not agree, the Respondent or their representative cannot enter the property.
The evidence for a tribunal
Evidence supplied by the parties should generally be included in a "bundle". This is a set of numbered documents relevant to the issues in the case and should be prepared in accordance with the directions. In some instances the parties will be asked to agree a single bundle which contains all documents that they wish to refer to. Alternatively, each party may be asked to provide their own bundle. It is crucial that bundles are supplied in good time for the hearing to prevent unnecessary postponements or adjournments.
The tribunal decision and after
Once the Residential Property Tribunal is satisfied that it has all the information it needs, it will make its decision. The clerk will write to you enclosing the decision as soon as possible after the inspection / hearing date.
Residential Property Tribunal decisions are binding on all parties, although there are specific grounds for appeal.