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How to Solve a Residential Property Dispute

In some cases, mediation services can help you solve a residential property dispute. It means you avoid having to apply to the First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber - Residential Property).

The advice and information in this section explains how to resolve housing disputes in England. It is for landlords, tenants, freeholders, leaseholders, park home occupiers, and site owners.

Some of the most common types of housing disputes you can apply to the tribunal about, are:

  • Changes to a lease that create leasehold disputes (e.g. service charges and other expenses, recognising a tenants’ association, Right to Manage and management disputes).
  • Decisions about council properties (e.g. being refused the right to buy your council home because it is deemed suitable for elderly people).
  • Disagreements about a house in multiple occupation licence.
  • Disputes about park (mobile) homes and caravans (e.g. a breach of agreement, changes made to the pitch fee).
  • Fair and realistic rent increases (e.g. are they in line with average local rents).
  • Financial penalties.
  • Improvement notices and prohibition orders where the notice falls under the Housing Act 2004.
  • Leasehold enfranchisement, such as extending, changing or ending a lease.
  • Rent repayment orders.

The First Tier Tribunal operates independent of government in United Kingdom. That means the panel will listen to both sides of an argument or disagreement before reaching a final decision.

Note: There are different ways of solving residential property disputes in Scotland, in Wales, and in Northern Ireland.

Where to Get Expert Help and Free Advice

The Leasehold Advisory Service offers independent advice specifically for residential leaseholders and park home residents.

You can also get free advice from the Citizens Advice bureau or pay for legal representation (e.g. from a lawyer).

Applying to the First Tier Tribunal

The first step is to download the appropriate form for your application. You should then fill in as much information as possible.

Send the completed form by post or by fax to the regional office covering your particular area. You will also find the relevant address written on the document.

Housing Disputes Application Forms

Reason for Applying Correct Form to Download Extra Guidance Notes
Different types of rent disputes Search the form finder Leaflet T540
Service charges and leasehold management Search the form finder Leaflet T541
Leasehold enfranchisement Use

Form Leasehold 9
Leaflet T542
Houses in multiple occupation and selective licensing Use Form HMO Leaflet T543
Improvement notices, demolition orders, prohibition orders Use

Leaflet T543
Park (mobile) homes Search the form finder Leaflet T544
Financial penalties Use Form HO4 Leaflet T543
Rent repayment orders Use
Form RRO1
Leaflet T543
Recognising a tenants’ association Use Form TA Leaflet T545
Right to buy your council home is refused Use

Form RTB1
Leaflet T546
All other types residential property disputes Search the form finder N/A

Application Fees

The application form will state how much to pay if there is a charge. If you get certain welfare benefits (or a low income amount) you can get help paying for court fees.

Providing Further Evidence

The tribunal will send you notification of whether they are going to consider your case – or not. They might ask you to provide extra evidence (e.g. additional supporting documentation).

Note: It is not uncommon for some cases not to require a hearing. They may apply a ‘paper decision’ meaning they will decide on an application by its merits alone. Even so, you still have an opportunity to ask for a ‘oral hearing’.

At the Tribunal Hearing

Several different procedures can happen at the hearing. As a rule, it would depend on whether you asked for a paper decision or your request was for an oral hearing.

How to Solve a Residential Property Dispute in United KingdomAsking for a Paper Decision

There would not be a standard hearing if you asked for a paper decision.

Instead, the panel base their decision on the application and any supporting documents you supplied. As a rule, you would get the decision within six (6) weeks of when the tribunal looked at the documentation.

If You Disagree with the Decision

What if you are unhappy with the decision given to you after the hearing? In this case, you may be able to make an appeal.

You should ask the tribunal for permission to appeal within 28 days of the decision. Use Form RP PTA: Application for permission to appeal a decision to the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber).

Use the complaints procedure if you are unhappy about the quality of service you received. You would be making a complaint to HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS).

What Happens at Oral Hearings?

These types of housing dispute hearings are public. So, you would be able to present your case to the tribunal by yourself.

You can also get someone else to do it on your behalf. For example, you might ask a lawyer, a surveyor, a family member, or a trusted friend.

It would be wise to make some preparations to answer questions given to you, by:

  • The person who is representing you (if you appointed one).
  • Representatives of the other party.
  • The panel sitting at the tribunal and listening to your case.

Note: You should get the decision about your housing dispute within six (6) weeks of when the tribunal hearing took place.

Legislation and Previous Decisions

Tribunal Procedure Legislation

The tribunal of a residential property dispute must follow the rules in the Tribunal Procedure (First-tier Tribunal) (Property Chamber) Rules 2013.

Previous Decisions Database

You can look for decisions on Residential Property Tribunal cases in England, Wales, and in Scotland from January 2018 onwards. Review the Residential Property Tribunal Judiciary if they made the decision before March 2018.

Note: Further legislation and previous decisions on rental disputes, park homes, leasehold disputes, and on rent repayment orders is available on the GOV.UK website.

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