What is the Residential Property Tribunal?
The Residential Property Tribunal Wales (RPTW) is an independent tribunal that has been set up to resolve disputes relating to private rented and leasehold property. The RPT is a statutory organisation established under the Housing Act 2004 It incorporates three types of tribunals, each with its own functions and remit, they are:
- the Rent Assessment Committees,
- the Leasehold Valuation Tribunal; and
- the Residential Property Tribunal.
The Welsh Government is responsible for the funding and administration of RPTW but its members and decisions are independent of government. The tribunal has two parts: the secretariat and tribunal members. Both work together, during the claim and appeal process doing different jobs. The tribunal members (usually a lawyer, a valuer and a lay person) hear and decide the applications and appeals. The secretariat carry out administrative duties involving the processing of applications and appeals. Lawyer members of RPTW are appointed by the Lord Chancellor. Professional and lay members are appointed by the Welsh Ministers. Evidence is not given on oath and usual court rules do not apply.
The legislative background to RPTW, and how its functions are conferred is complex. In general, legislative functions are conferred on a rent assessment committee, a leasehold valuation tribunal or a residential property tribunal according to the subject matter. However, even where functions are conferred on a leasehold valuation tribunal or a residential property tribunal these functions are to be exercised by a rent assessment committee. Each committee and tribunal has its own jurisdiction, relevant legislation, rights of appeal to the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) and procedural rules.
Residential property tribunals deal with the following:
- Empty dwelling management orders and appeals
- Interim and final management orders and appeals
- Licensing of houses in multiple occupation, selective licensing of other residential property and licensing under the Housing (Wales) Act 2014 (in relation to Rent Smart Wales)
- Housing, health and safety rating system (improvement notices, prohibition orders, emergency remedial action, demolition orders and execution of works on unfit premises); and
- Mobile homes, including local authority gypsy and traveller sites.
The jurisdiction of residential property tribunals is conferred by the following Acts: the Housing Act 1985, the Housing Act 2004 and the Mobile Homes (Wales) Act 2013 (though this is not an exhaustive list).
Residential property tribunals are established under section 229 of the Housing Act 2004 which provides that jurisdiction conferred on a residential property tribunal is exercisable by a rent assessment committee constituted under Schedule 10 to RA 1977. When so constituted a rent assessment committee is known as a residential property tribunal.
Section 230 of, and Schedule 13 to, the Housing Act 2004 relate to the powers and procedures of the residential property tribunal, as do the Residential Property Tribunal Procedures and Fees (Wales) Regulations 2012.
Section 231 of the Housing Act 2004 provides for appeals from the residential property tribunal to be made to the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) in certain circumstances. Appeal from the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) is to the Court of Appeal.
Since the implementation of the Housing (Wales) Act 2014, residential property tribunals have the functions of being able to hear appeals against the decisions of a licensing authority under Part 1 of the 2014 Act in connection with the registration and licensing of landlords and agents, as well as the function of issuing rent stopping orders and rent repayment orders under that Part.
Regulations governing the tribunal are Residential Property Tribunal Procedures and Fees (Wales) Regulations 2016.
Application forms and guidance can be found on the Residential Property Tribunal website.
There are fees involved in some, but not all, applications. Guidance providing information about application fees, hearing fees and waiver of fees can be found on the residential property tribunal website.
Decisions made by the Residential Property Tribunal Wales from April 2012 can be found on the Residential Property Tribunal website.