Taking your landlord to the tribunal
If you have a dispute with your private landlord or letting agent, you can apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Housing and Property Chamber).
Going to a case discussion or hearing
If your application is accepted, the tribunal can hold a case discussion or hearing.
It's important that you attend or someone attends on your behalf. You'll be more likely to win your case if you're there to explain it.
Case discussions and hearings are fairly informal, and the tribunal will help you understand what is happening.
What a case discussion or hearing is
A case discussion is usually held first. It’s a chance for everyone to discuss the problem and see if an agreement can be made. The tribunal will call this a case management discussion or a CMD.
The tribunal can decide to hold a hearing if:
you cannot reach an agreement
they need more information
they want to look at evidence or hear from witnesses
The tribunal can make a final decision at either a case discussion or a hearing.
Where and when you'll attend
Case discussions and hearings take place Monday to Friday, between 9am and 5pm.
Currently, they happen by telephone conference call. You usually do not need to appear in person.
You can ask the tribunal to meet in person or have a video call instead. They should take into account any accessibility needs you have when deciding.
If you need an interpreter, they’ll usually arrange a video call or in person hearing.
Who goes to a case discussion or hearing
There are usually 2 employees of the tribunal, called a legal member and an ordinary member. They’ll ask questions and make the decision.
A tribunal clerk will usually let you into the conference call and explain what will happen.
Your landlord or letting agent should be there. They can also send a solicitor in their place.
If you want to bring someone for support
You can bring someone to support you. This can be a friend, family member or someone you trust. They cannot directly take part in the case discussion or hearing, but they can:
give you moral support
help you organise documents or evidence
tell you about what's happening
remind you of things to say that would help your case
Tell the tribunal in advance if you're bringing anyone with you.
If you want someone else to speak for you
You can bring someone to speak on your behalf or appear in your place. They'll need to be familiar with the case so they can answer questions for you.
Tell the tribunal in advance if someone will speak on your behalf.
Getting legal representation
In most cases, you do not need a solicitor to represent you.
If you decide to hire a solicitor, they can represent you and make your case at the tribunal.
A solicitor will charge for their work and it can be expensive. Consider how much compensation you are asking for. It could be less than the legal fees you’d pay a solicitor.
You can find a solicitor on the Law Society of Scotland website. You may be eligible for free legal advice or legal aid to help with costs.
Representing yourself at the tribunal
Prepare your evidence
Make sure you have evidence to support the outcome you want. The tribunal will take into account what you say when making a decision.
Be specific about how the problem has impacted you. For example:
if repair problems have affected your health, you could provide a doctor's letter to support this
if your deposit was not protected, explain why any deductions your landlord made were unfair
if your landlord did not return your deposit, explain how it’s affected your ability to pay your rent or bills
if your landlord did not give you a tenancy agreement, explain how not knowing your rights affected you – for example, it could have put you at risk of illegal eviction
You can use copies of texts or emails from your landlord as evidence. Show how often you asked them to put the problem right.
If you have witnesses, they can give evidence to support your case. Tell the tribunal in advance about any witnesses you have.
Being asked questions
You can be asked questions about your evidence. This is an informal process. The tribunal will try to understand information they think is relevant, but they should not interrogate you or try to pick holes in your case.
It will help you if you are:
familiar with your evidence
able to explain how your evidence supports your application
honest and consistent in what you say to the tribunal
Your landlord or their representative can ask you questions as well. The tribunal will make sure these questions are appropriate and relevant.
If you need to miss the case discussion or hearing
Tell the tribunal as soon as you can. Explain why you cannot attend and ask to reschedule for a date and time that suits you.
If you do not go, a decision can be made without you. If you are not there and not represented, the decision could go against you.
If a decision was made without you present
You may be able to recall the hearing.
Contact the tribunal as soon as you can and explain why you did not attend. If you get a decision letter, you must do this within 14 days of the date on the letter.
The tribunal can either:
recall the hearing
hold a case discussion to see if a hearing should be recalled
dismiss your request
You can only recall the same case once.
Last updated: 13 June 2023