FtT: It’s make-your-mind-up time

Flat Justice encourages all Rent Repayment Order (RRO) Applicants to appeal decisions which seem unfair or incompetent. We often have DIY Applicants approaching us for an opinion and/or assistance, as in this case decided at the Southern FtT back in November last year. The original FtT “decision” can be found here. The recent Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) (UT) judgment here .

The RRO was not made in their case at the FtT because the Tribunal had received conflicting opinion from different officers of the Local Authority (LA) regarding whether the property could be considered to have been a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO). The matter hinged on whether one of the occupants was part of the landlord’s household: he was a “fiancĂ©” of the landlord’s daughter.

We argued that the Southern FtT had failed in its duty to make a judgment and had simply delegated the judicial process to the conflicting opinions of the LA, resulting in an inevitable impasse and no RRO.

The Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) (UT) agreed:

The ruling is a powerful reminder to First-tier Tribunals that the interpretation and application of the law is their responsibility. Tribunals cannot simply ‘rubber stamp’ opinions of LA officers any more than they can the opinions of counsel (see Opara v Olasemo here).

If you have a RRO decision which you believe is incorrect or unfair, from any First-tier Tribunal across the country, please contact us as soon as possible for an assessment and assistance.