Previously, we blogged on the problems with service of actions raised at the First-tier Tribunal -Housing and Property Chamber (FTT-HPC) where the address of the tenant was unknown.
Proposals to amend the FTT-HPC procedural rules to correct this problem and revise the procedural rules legislation more generally now been laid before Parliament. The proposals correct errors and extend the scope of the FTT-HPC’s powers, bringing it more into line with processes available in the Sheriff Court. The amending provisions are contained within the The First-tier Tribunal for Scotland Housing and Property Chamber (Procedure) Amendment Regulations 2018 and The First-tier Tribunal for Scotland Housing and Property Chamber (Incidental Provisions) Regulations 2019.
Below is a summary of the key proposed changes:
- Introduction of service by advertisement
Applications will be able to be served on parties by advertising on First-tier Tribunal’s website where the whereabouts of a party are unknown. This will rectify the issues raised in our earlier blog and ensure access to justice for landlords.
- Increasing the Sum Sued
Often when landlords raise an action for payment of arrears the tenant is continuing to occupy the property. The arrears figure is, therefore, a moving target. The new rules will allow landlords to increase the sum sued to reflect any increase in rent owed from the lodging the application to the 14 days prior to the case management decision.
- Claiming Interest
Unlike in the Sheriff Court applicants have been unable to claim interest on the sum sued at the FTT-HPC. The new rules permit interest to be included in applications for payment.
- Time to Pay
Debtors will be able to apply for Time to Pay the debt due under any payment order either by way of instalments at a set rate or by a lump sum within a certain period of time. This measure provides the Applicant with the protection of a Payment Order but allows the Debtor time to pay without enforcement action being taken.
It is anticipated the new rules will take effect in early 2019 with the possibility of new/amended application forms. If you have any queries regarding these changes to the First-tier Tribunal, please contact our LetLaw team.