Rent assessment committees are now under the duties of the First-tier Tribunal Property Chamber. The tribunal is specialist in general housing matters.
The Tribunal operates under a number of regions in England. The tribunal members are independent of both central and local Government.
The tribunal can decide on the following types of dispute:
tenants of assured shorthold tenancies can refer their rent for review during the first six months of their original tenancy, if they consider the rent is above a market rent
tenants of assured/assured shorthold tenancies can refer a rent for review where the landlord has sought to increase it under the notice procedure under section 13 of the Housing Act 1988
tenants of assured/assured shorthold tenancies can refer for review a landlord’s notice of a change in the tenancy agreement terms under section 6 of the Housing Act 1988 (this is very rare and therefore will not be discussed further)
either landlords or tenants can refer a rent officer’s decision on a ‘fair rent’ under the Rent Act 1977 if they disagree with it.
There is no appeal against a decision except on a point of law. The tribunal may make a decision by considering the relevant papers although you or the tenant can ask for a hearing, which you may both attend. There is no charge for a decision. When settling disputes on rent, the tribunal normally decides what rent could reasonably be expected for the property if it were let it on the open market under a new tenancy on the same terms.
It does not take into account any increase in the value of the property due to voluntary improvements by the tenant or any reduction in the value of the property caused by the tenant not looking after the property.
The tribunal may agree the proposed rent or set a higher or lower rent.