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We have collected together some of your most frequently asked questions onto these tabs. More detailed information is contained in the Guidance documents.
Frequently Asked Questions - Local Authorities
1. How quickly must I make an application?
Most applications must be submitted to the RPT within a specified appeal period. The period varies for each type of appeal. The annex to each application form gives details on each type of appeal and how long the appeal period. If in doubt you can seek confirmation from an RPTS office.
2. What advice can RPTS provide?
Both the case officer and the Tribunal are required to remain impartial in dealing with disputes. Although we can advise you about the procedures we follow, we cannot provide you with legal advice. Similarly we cannot provide guidance about what to say in your application nor the best way to present your case.
3. Can you recommend any representatives to assist me with my application?
No. As a quasi-judicial body we cannot recommend representatives.
However you may wish to consider contacting the following organisations:
4. What evidence do I need to submit to the Tribunal?
The application form advises the applicant what documents they need to submit with their application form. Upon receipt the case officer will confirm that all the relevant documents have been received and, should any be missing, give the applicant a further 14 days to submit them. Failure to do so may result in the application being dismissed by the Tribunal.
When all the application documents are received the Tribunal will review the case and issue ‘directions’ to all the parties. The directions give details on what each party needs to do to prepare for the hearing and what documents they need to submit in advance of the hearing. These documents are called a ‘bundle’. The Tribunal will usually specify that the four copies of the bundle are submitted to the Tribunal with a further copy being sent to each of the other parties.
The Tribunal have the power to debar evidence if it is submitted late and without good cause.
5. Which Panel should I send my application to?
The location of the property in dispute (often referred to as the "subject property") generally determines which RPTS regional office will handle the case. You should therefore apply to the regional office in which the property in dispute is located. Details of the local authority areas covered by each RPTS region can be found on our contact us page or can be obtained by calling the RPTS National Help line on 0845 100 3178.
6. Are there any fees involved?
Fees are applicable in some, but not all, applications. The fee, where required is £150. The fee is a prescribed requirement within certain applications and the Tribunal will not be able to proceed without it.
If you or your partner is in receipt of one of a specified number of benefits you can apply for a waiver of the fees. The specified benefits are as follows:
- Income Support
- Housing Benefit
- Income Based Job Seekers Allowance
- A working tax credit with a disability element or the applicant or partner is also in receipt of child tax credit, and the gross annual income taken into account for the calculation of the working tax credit is £14,213 or less
- A guarantee credit under the State Pensions Credit Act 2002.
- A certificate issued under the Funding Code which has not been revoked or discharged and which is in respect of the proceedings before the tribunal the whole or part of which have been transferred from the County Court for determination by a tribunal
- A working tax credit where the Gross Annual Income used to calculate the tax credit is £14,213 or less.
7. How long will it take to process my RPT application?
The time involved in processing and hearing an application will vary depending on the complexity of the dispute and, sometimes, on the number of applications being received. Your application will be acknowledged within 48 hours of receipt.
An application must be heard within 16 weeks of the date that the papers were first received by the Tribunal. However in practice, a Tribunal hearing is scheduled to take place between 7 and 10 weeks of receipt.
If the tribunal thinks it is appropriate, and all the parties agree, it is possible for some applications (usually the more straightforward ones) to be dealt with entirely on the basis of written representations and documents, without the need for parties to attend a hearing and make oral representations.
The nature of the application may require the Tribunal to consider the matter urgently. Where appropriate the Tribunal is empowered to arrange a hearing within days of the application being made. If you feel an application should be treated urgently, you should inform the case in writing giving full reasons.
8. Can I request a postponement of the hearing if I needed more time to submit new evidence?
Yes. The Residential Property Tribunal has discretion to grant a postponement but will need to be convinced that it is justified in the circumstances of the case.
9. What happens if I wish to withdraw my LVT application?
The applicant can request to withdraw their application at any time. However, under the Housing Act 2004 the RPT has a requirement to ensure that all matters in dispute have been resolved. When seeking to withdraw, the applicant must send their request in writing, confirming:
- that all matters have been resolved;
- what if any matters remain outstanding;
- that their request has been copied to the other parties in the application and the date that this was done.
10. I want to be included in a current RPT application. How do I go about this?
Applications to the RPT often affect others. Parties are requested to give the Tribunal details of parties who may be interested in an application. Upon receipt the Tribunal will write to the interested parties inviting them to apply to join either as an application or respondent. If you wish to be included in an application, you should complete the proforma that is sent to you and return it to the case officer within 14 days of the letter notifying you of the application. The Tribunal will then consider the request as it has discretionary powers on who can join applications already being processed. Generally, the tribunal will only permit to join those who will be directly affected by the outcome of the case.
11. What is a Case Management Conference (CMC)?
A CMC is a short preliminary hearing conducted by a Tribunal Chairman with, occasionally, other members also sitting with them. The Tribunal will usually identify when a CMC is required. However parties are entitled ask the Tribunal to stage a CMC giving full reasons for the request.
The aim of a CMC is to establish the key issues within the application and to see if any of them can be resolved ahead of a full hearing. It is therefore recommended that both parties attend. The Tribunal will not make a final decision at the end of a CMC as it is not a full hearing of the application.
12. Can I represent myself at a Tribunal?
Yes. RPTs were set up specifically to provide a less formal means of resolving disputes than is provided by the Courts and where parties can represent themselves. However you may wish to seek independent advice particularly if the application involves complex technical matters. In such circumstances it may be of some help to have an independent specialist support your case. Such a specialist may provide a report setting out the evidence supporting your case, and/or attend the hearing, either with you or as your representative (without you being present).
Your case officer will usually seek to confirm who will be attending a hearing about a week before it is due to be held.
13. Will the Tribunal want to visit the property?
The Tribunal will decide on a case-by-case basis whether an inspection of the subject property is appropriate. The case officer will notify parties when an inspection is required and confirm when the Tribunal intend to visit the property. The onus is usually on the applicant to ensure that access is provided for the Tribunal. However, the Tribunal have no powers of entry and anyone living in the property is entitled to bar entry to all or some of those present.
14. Can I say anything at the inspection in support of my application?
Both parties can draw attention to any physical aspect of the property that they wish the Committee/Tribunal to see. However parties may not make any representations during the inspection - representations must be made at the hearing or have been made in writing.
15. How long will it take to receive the RPT decision?
The RPT will aim to send you the decision and the reasons behind it within 4 weeks of the hearing (or 2 weeks for a paper determination if there was no hearing). In some circumstances the RPT may let the parties know the decision at the end of the hearing itself. If you have not heard from the RPT with regard to the decision after 4 weeks, you should contact the case officer who will be able to advise you.
16. How can I enforce the Tribunal decision if the other party does not comply?
The RPT have no enforcement powers but its orders are enforceable in the same way as County Court orders. If a party does not comply with the decision of the RPT, you should seek independent legal advice. County Court proceedings may be initiated to enforce the decision.
17. What can I do if I am not happy with the service provided or the Tribunal's decision?
The RPTS has a formal complaints procedure for handling complaints about our service. A copy of our complaints procedure leaflet is available from our offices and from this web site.
However the RPTS will not consider complaints about decisions on cases or the way in which a tribunal conducted proceedings: these should properly be the subject of a formal appeal to the Lands Tribunal.
18. What if there are some administrative errors in my decision?
Residential Property Tribunals have the power to issue correction certificates to rectify any clerical or accidental error or omission in a decision.
19. Is there a right of appeal against the Residential Property Tribunal’s decision?
You can appeal to the Lands Tribunal, if you consider that the RPT has made a mistake of law. You must do so within 21 days of the receipt of the reasons for the decision. Alternatively, if you consider that there has been a breach of the rules of natural justice you could seek leave from the High Court to challenge the decision by way of a process known as “judicial review”. Such leave should ordinarily be sought not later than three months from the above date. You should take legal advice if you consider that there might be grounds for High Court proceedings.
20. Where can I view past RPT decisions?
Decisions can be inspected at the RPTS office for the area in which the property lies. Alternatively you can view decisions from our decisions archive on the RPTS website.