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What is a Rent Assessment Committee?

Rent Assessment Committees are usually made up of two or three people - usually a lawyer is present together with a property valuer and a lay person.

It is an independent decision making body which is completely unconnected to the parties or any other public agency. It may also be called a rent assessment tribunal or panel.

This Committees can decide on many aspects of renting a property where there is a dispute between the tenant and the landlord. The following is the main areas of interest they would deal with.

What do Rent Assessment Tribunals decide on?

If after moving into a property you feel the rent that has been charged is too high in relation to similar properties in the area then Tenants of assured short-hold tenancies can refer their rent for review during the first six months of their original tenancy, if they consider the rent is above a market rent.

If you believe any rent increase imposed by the landlord is unreasonable then Tenants of assured/assured short-hold tenancies can refer a rent for review where the landlord has sought to increase it under the notice procedure under section 13 of The Housing Act 1988.

Though it is a very rare occurrence Tenants of assured/assured short-hold tenancies can refer for review a landlord’s notice of a change in the tenancy agreement terms under section 6 of The Housing Act 1988. It’s rare because generally once a tenancy is signed the terms of that agreement are in force for the period of the tenancy and these days landlords cannot change the terms generally.

In a case where a fixed term assured or assured short hold tenancy has ended and the landlord or tenant has served a notice proposing new terms for the statutory periodic tenancy which has automatically risen, the recipient of the notice can ask the rent assessment panel to determine new terms and any rent adjustment for the statutory periodic tenancy.

In the case where a long lease at a low rent governed by the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 has expired then either the landlord or the tenant can refer a rent officer’s decision on a fair rent under The Rent Act 1977 if they disagree with it.

The committee may make a decision by considering the relevant papers although you can ask for an informal hearing, which you and the landlord may both attend.

The committee does not take into account any increase in the value of the property due to voluntary improvements by the tenant or any reduction in the value of the property caused by the tenant not looking after the property. The committee may agree the proposed rent or set a higher or lower rent.

Can I Appeal against a Rent Assessment Committees Decision?

No, There is no appeal against a committee’s decision except on a point of law.

How much does it cost to request my Rent to be assessed by a Committee?

There is no charge for a committee decision. When settling disputes on rent, the committee normally decides what rent you could reasonably expect for the property if you were letting it on the open market under a new tenancy on the same terms.

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