The Rent Assessment Committees is no more….Long Live the First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber)!
As of today the Rent Assessment Committee has been abolished with its functions now being exercised by the new First Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber). This is part of a general tidying up of the tribunals system that has been ongoing for a few years and has moved almost all tribunals into a standardised 2-level system of First Tier and Upper Tribunals. The RPT has also been removed with its functions being transferred. However, these changes only apply in England. Wales is retaining the current system.
As to process and procedure there should not be a great deal of difference. There are new procedural rules for the new Property Chamber but they should not cause too much concern.
The various forms that are used for starting cases will of course change. There are also a couple of minor changes to some of the forms used for dealing with Housing Act 1988 tenancies. Most of these will not affect very many landlords and tenants. The main change to be aware of is in Form 9. This is the form used when granting a tenancy to a farm worker to make sure it is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy and to prevent it becoming an Assured Agricultural Occupancy. As there are significant differences in the rights granted to the tenant under these tenancies landlords will need to use the right form.
Rent Act tenants who are paying their rent weekly will also need to be issued with a new rent book as the notices in the book for those tenants have altered slightly.
The LVT has also gone in this change and so all statutory information about service charges which mentions the LVT should also be corrected to refer to the First Tier Tribunal.
It will remain to be seen whether the new organisation creates a significant difference in working practices. I wonder how long it will be before this name is reduced to a suitable acronym. FTT looks likely although I am open to better suggestions!