Using the First Tier Tribunal
This section deals with whether a tenant should apply to the First Tier Tribunal Housing and Property Chamber and what happens if deciding to do so.
Deciding whether to challenge a rent rise using the First Tier Tribunal
It may not always be in the tenant's best interests to apply to the First Tier Tribunal. The tribunal must determine a market rent that could be higher or lower than that which the landlord has requested. It is therefore important that before making an application, the adviser or the tenant finds out what is likely to be considered to be a market rent in the area.
One of the easiest ways of doing this is to consult the First Tier Tribunal records to find 'comparable' properties in the area. Information on previous decisions made can be found on the First Tier Tribunal website. Factors such as the state of repair of the property, the facilities included in the rent, whether or not it is furnished and whether it is an assured or short assured tenancy will be relevant to whether the properties are directly comparable. It may also be useful to look in local newspapers and estate agents to find out what rents are being charged. Information gathered before applying will also be useful as evidence to show to the tribunal, for example, advertisements from local newspapers.
Once the First Tier Tribunal has received a reference for a market rent, it shall serve a notice on both the parties giving them at least 14 days to either make written representations or request an oral hearing.
If no hearing is requested, the tribunal will consider the representations and give each party the opportunity to comment on the other's case. It will then make its determination and notify the parties.
If either party requests a hearing then one will be held. Hearings are in public and a solicitor, advocate or other person may represent the parties. The parties must be given 10 days' notice of the date of the hearing. Both parties will have the opportunity to give evidence, call witnesses and cross-examine witnesses called by the other party. Each party should normally be supplied with any documents used as evidence at the hearing.
For cases involving both written representations and hearings, the tribunal may decide to inspect the property.
Decisions and appeals
Decisions must be recorded in writing and sent to each party. The tribunal must give its reasons for the decision at the time of notification if requested to before the decision is given.
Appeals against a tribunal's determination may only be made on a point of law, via the Upper Tribunal.
Last updated: 4 December 2017