This report presents an analysis of responses to the Scottish Government's consultation on Procedure of the First-tier Tribunal Housing and Property Chamber.
The Tribunals (Scotland) Act 2014 created a new, two-tier structure for devolved tribunals in Scotland with a First-tier Tribunal ( FTT) for first instance decisions and an Upper Tribunal, primarily for dealing with appeals. The Housing and Property Chamber aims to deliver benefits of specialism, consistency, and improved access to justice for both tenants and landlords in the private rented sector. It enables a less adversarial approach in comparison to the Sheriff Court. The aim is for a system that will allow most people to engage directly with the FTT, and where legal representation is not the norm.
The FTT is divided into 5 chambers, including the Housing and Property Chamber which specialises in housing matters. The former Private Rented Housing Panel and Homeowner Housing Panel became the first of the existing tribunals to move to the new FTT structure in December 2016 and, from December 2017, the FTT will start to hear more private rented sector housing cases, including cases transferred from the Sheriff Court under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 and disputes involving the new tenancies established by the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016. The FTT will also hear cases relating to letting agents when the new regulatory regime set out by the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 comes into force in January 2018.
The consultation sought views on:
- A single set of operational rules to apply across all jurisdictions in the Housing and Property Chamber from December 2017, intended to streamline existing procedures and to provide consistency of approach.
- The provision of publicly-funded legal assistance in certain circumstances.
However, the consultation paper was clear this consultation was not seeking views on the implementation of the Tribunals (Scotland) Act 2014, the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014, or the Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016.
The consultation opened on 6 January and closed on 31 March 2017.
Profile of respondents
A total of 21 responses was available for analysis. Of these, 11 were submitted through the Scottish Government's Citizen Space consultation hub with the remaining 10 responses received by email.
Respondents were asked to identify whether they were responding as an individual or on behalf of a group or organisation. Organisational respondents have been placed in one of 5 respondent types by the analysis team as follows:
- Campaign or advice group: Ayr Housing Aid Centre; Homeless Action Scotland, Legal Services Agency; and Shelter Scotland.
- Local Authority: Falkirk Council and North Lanarkshire Council.
- Property management company: Greenbelt Group and YourPlace.
- Representative body: ARLA Propertymark (Association of Residential Letting Agents); Charted Institute of Housing Scotland ( CIH Scotland); Homes for Scotland; Scottish Association of Landlords & Council of Letting Agents; Scottish Federation of Housing Associations ( SFHA); Scottish Land and Estates; and Scottish Property Federation.
- Other: First-tier Tribunal for Scotland Housing and Property Chamber.
A breakdown of the number of responses received by respondent type is set out in Table 1 below.
Table 1: Respondents by type
|Type of respondent||Number|
|Campaign or Advice Group||4|
|Property management company||2|
Analysis and reporting
A small number of organisational respondents did not make their submissions on the consultation questionnaire, but submitted their comments in a statement-style format. When this response contained a clear answer to one of the Yes/No questions this has been recorded. The remaining content was analysed qualitatively under the most directly relevant consultation question. Comments which did not address directly any of the consultation questions are considered in a brief final section to the report.
If the respondent gave permission to publish, their original response can be found on the Scottish Government's website at: https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/better-homes-division/procedure-first-tier-tribunal-housing/consultation/published_select_respondent.
Please note that, given their length, the original draft documents have not been reproduced within this report and readers may wish to read the report alongside the original consultation paper. The consultation paper can be accessed at: https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/better-homes-division/procedure-first-tier-tribunal-housing/supporting_documents/465491_Tribunal%20Housing_FINAL.pdf.
Email: Ged Millar, Ged.Millar@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit
The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House