The First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber) was formed to deal with housing law cases in the private rented sector. From 1 December 2017, the courts no longer have jurisdiction for hearing cases on assured tenancies. If a landlord wants to pursue a claim for rent arrears then they must raise an action in the Tribunal.
Tribunal Rules – What you need to know
Rule 5(1) provides an application is lodged in the manner set out in the listed rules. Before an application can be accepted, the Chamber President or member under delegated powers must determine whether all mandatory requirements for lodgement have been met. Rule 5(3) entitles the Chamber President to request further documentation where it is “necessary to meet the required manner for lodgement.”
Rule 70 requires an application to include the name and address of both parties.
Why is this important?
It has become apparent the change has resulted in some changes from the former court system. Previously, if a tenant’s address was unknown, they could apply to have the claim served on the walls of court. In contrast, the Tribunal rules do not allow for alternative methods of service such as advertisement because the Tribunal rules do not allow for applications to be accepted where the Respondent’s address is unknown.
If an order for payment was granted by the Court, then the landlord would have 20 years in which to find the tenant and pursue enforcement action. Since 1 December 2017, a landlord has a five year period under Scots Law to pursue a claim for outstanding rent arrears. Should you not raise and serve Tribunal proceedings onto the tenant within this period then your case will likely be time barred and you will lose the right to pursue the tenant for all of your losses.
What can you do?
If a Tenant leaves the property without providing a forwarding address and they owe outstanding rental arrears then you should apply to the tenancy deposit scheme for return of your deposit. If there is still money outstanding, you will require Sheriff Officers to carry out a trace report to locate the tenant.
At Jackson Boyd, we have a lot of experience dealing with claims to the Private Rented Housing Tribunal and have assisted our own clients in locating tenants who carry out a moonlight flit without paying rent. Click here to contact us online or call 01412496903.