Prima facie, the Housing and Property Chamber displays a clear bias towards landlords.

Ian Cameron made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Roedd y cais yn rhannol lwyddiannus.

Dear Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service,

In a case, referred to what was The Private Rented Housing Panel in July 2016, the initial Hearing in September 2016 considered the works necessary to make the property comply with The Repairing Standard and other regulations. At that time they placed a Repairing Standard Enforcement Order (RSEO) on the property in Sanquhar.

The landlord declined to comply throughout the next 16 months and the RSEO remained on the property for that period of time. The terms of the RSEO required the landlord to comply with this within 28 days, or face prosecution, plus referral to the council for revocation of his registration. In the circumstances how was it possible for the landlord to continue to fail to comply with the RSEO and what was by now The Housing and Property Chamber, fail to take any action against him of this nature ?

How long does a landlord have to comply with an RSEO before action is taken against them by way of referral to Police Scotland, plus the relevant local authority?

How many cases have there been where an RSEO has been on a property for 16+ months with no action being taken to refer this for prosecution, plus revocation of registration?

In the past 2 years, how many cases were there where an RSEO was not complied with in the time specified which were then referred to Police Scotland and the relevant local authority?

Given landlords sign to say they will comply with regulations etc when they apply for registration, why does the Housing and Property Chamber allow them (or at least one of them) to flout these regulations (plus other rented property legislation) with impunity?

Has The Housing and Property Chamber sought a legal opinion on the lawfulness of their approach here? Prima facie there is a distinct bias towards landlords who act unlawfully.

Yours faithfully,

Ian Cameron

Foi, Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service

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Stewart, Paul,

Dear Mr Cameron

 

Your Freedom of Information request, submitted to the Scottish Courts and
Tribunals Service (SCTS) on 03 March 2018 has been referred to me for a
response. 

 

As your Freedom of Information request covers 6 separate points, I have
broken these down to provide a separate response to each using the text
from your original request (except for points 5 and 6 in which I have
issued a joint response). You will see my responses in bold:

 

1.    The landlord declined to comply throughout the next 16 months and
the RSEO remained on the property for that period of time.  The terms of
the RSEO required the landlord to comply with this within 28 days, or face
prosecution, plus referral to the council for revocation of his
registration. In the circumstances how was it possible for the landlord to
continue to fail to comply with the RSEO and what was by now The Housing
and Property Chamber, fail to take any action against him of this nature?

 

This appears to be a reference to a specific case with the First-tier
Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and Property Chamber). Please note that as
the Tribunal is an independent and impartial judicial body, I am unable to
discuss specific cases or release information covered by the exemption
contained in Section 32 of the FOISA.

 

That section states:

 

32. - (1) Information held by a public authority is exempt information if
it is held only by virtue of being contained in—

(a) any document filed with, or otherwise placed in the custody of, a
court for the purposes of proceedings in a particular cause or matter,

(b) any document served upon, or by, a public authority for the purposes
of proceedings in a particular cause or matter, or

(c) any document created by—

(i) a court, or

(ii) a member of the administrative staff of a court,

for the purposes of proceedings in a particular cause or matter.

(2) Information held by a public authority is exempt information if it is
held only by virtue of being contained in—

(a) any document placed in the custody of a person conducting an inquiry
or arbitration, for the purposes of the inquiry or arbitration, or

(b) any document created by a person conducting an inquiry or arbitration,
for the purposes of the inquiry or arbitration.

(3) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise in relation to information
which is (or if it were held by the public authority would be) exempt
information by virtue of this section.

(4) In this section—

(a) “court” includes any tribunal or body exercising the judicial power of
the State,

(b) “proceedings in a particular cause or matter” includes any
investigation under Part 1 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, any
inquest under the Coroners Act (Northern Ireland) 1959 and any post-mortem
examination,

(c) “inquiry” means any inquiry or hearing held under any provision
contained in, or made under, an enactment, and

(d) except in relation to Scotland, “arbitration” means any arbitration to
which Part I of the Arbitration Act 1996 applies.

 

However, I can advise that the Tribunal hearings are open to the public
and we publish a list of forthcoming hearings on our website which can be
accessed at the following link -
[1]https://www.housingandpropertychamber.scot

 

In addition, the Tribunal decisions and statements of reasons are
published on the same website. These decisions can be searched against
using the property address. This allows third parties to ascertain the
reasons for decisions taken by the Tribunal. The parties to the
proceedings are sent copies of the decisions by the Tribunal. The relevant
local authority, which regulates the particular area in which the specific
property is situated, is also sent a copy of the decision after the appeal
period has expired.

 

2.    How long does a landlord have to comply with an RSEO before action
is taken against them by way of referral to Police Scotland, plus the
relevant local authority?

 

The timescale that a landlord has to comply with an RSEO differs on a case
by case basis. If a tribunal makes an RSEO then they must specify the
period within which the work must be carried out, but the landlord must be
given at least 21 days. After the timescale specified by the tribunal has
expired, the tribunal (or sometimes the surveyor member only) will carry
out a further inspection of the house and a copy of the re-inspection
report is sent to the parties who will be asked to comment their views.
Following consideration of the inspection findings and the further
comments received, the tribunal will decide whether the landlord has
failed to comply with the RSEO.  If the tribunal decides to make a Failure
to Comply decision, then the case may be referred to Police Scotland for
prosecution and to the relevant local authority for any actions they wish
to take after the appeal period has passed. The legislation provides that
in the event of the receipt of an appeal, the decision is suspended until
the outcome of the appeal is issued or there is withdrawal of the appeal.
Therefore, if an appeal or review is lodged, this can delay the issue of
decisions to the police or a landlord registration service. However, while
the Tribunal can refer failures to comply with an RSEO to the police and
the local authority, any further action regarding prosecutions or
proceedings in relation to landlord registration rest with either Police
Scotland/the Procurator Fiscal or landlord registration within the
relevant local authority.  It should also be noted that the timescale
given for completion of works may be extended for a variety of reasons and
reference to a particular decision will explain the reasons for any
extension or variation of the RSEO.

 

3.    How many cases have there been where an RSEO has been on a property
for 16+ months with no action being taken to refer this for prosecution,
plus revocation of registration?

 

Since 2013, there have been 15 cases where an RSEO has been on a property
for 16+ months before a Failure to Comply decision was made by the
tribunal. Once a Failure to Comply decision has been made by the tribunal,
and the appeal period has passed, the matter may be referred to Police
Scotland and the relevant local authority. The reasons for this timescale
will be dependent on the individual circumstances of each case, including
but not limited to, the initial timescale in the RSEO and any subsequent
decisions to vary the RSEO. Again I would highlight that, it is a matter
for Police Scotland/the Procurator Fiscal and the relevant local authority
to take forward any actions regarding prosecution or revocation of
registration.

 

4.    In the past 2 years, how many cases were there where an RSEO was not
complied with in the time specified which were then referred to Police
Scotland and the relevant local authority?

 

In the past 2 years, 68 cases have been referred to both Police Scotland
and the relevant local authority. This constitutes all cases where the
RSEO was not complied with and the tribunal made a Failure to Comply
decision.

 

5.    Given landlords sign to say they will comply with regulations etc
when they apply for registration, why does the Housing and Property
Chamber allow them (or at least one of them) to flout these regulations
(plus other rented property legislation) with impunity?

 

6.    Has The Housing and Property Chamber sought a legal opinion on the
lawfulness of their approach here? Prima facie there is a distinct bias
towards landlords who act unlawfully.

 

As I have noted above, the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland (Housing and
Property Chamber) is an independent and impartial judicial body and so I
am unable to enter into discussions about specific cases. However, the
Tribunal must apply the provisions of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 and
the First-tier Tribunal Housing and Property Chamber procedural
regulations. Should a party feel that the Tribunal has not followed the
procedural rules or has behaved unfairly to one party or shown bias, the
party can appeal the decision or seek a review. There is no cost for
raising an appeal or a review. The legal members of the Tribunal who are
either solicitors or advocates interpret the legislation and procedural
rules.

 

I hope you find this information of assistance. However should you feel
dissatisfied with this decision or the manner in which your request has
been handled, the Act provides for a review process to be conducted.
Should you wish to take advantage of this process you may apply in writing
for a review.

 

Your request should provide details of why you wish a review to be carried
out and should be made within 40 working days of receipt of this letter
to:-

 

The Freedom of Information Manager

Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service
Saughton House
Broomhouse Drive
Edinburgh
EH11 3XD

 

[2][Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service request email]

 

Following that review should you still feel dissatisfied, you have the
right to lodge an appeal with the Scottish Information Commissioner either
online:

 

[3]http://www.itspublicknowledge.info/YourR...

 

Or at the following address:-

 

Office of the Scottish Information Commissioner

Kinburn Castle

Doubledykes Road

St. Andrews

FIFE

KY16 9DS

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Paul Stewart

Operations Manager - Glasgow

 

Scottish Courts & Tribunals Service

Glasgow Tribunals Centre,

20 York Street,

Glasgow,

G2 8GT

             

Tel: 0141 302 5904

Blackberry: 07814 867 663

Fax: 0141 302 5901

Email: [email address]

 

DX: DX 551943, GLASGOW 42 

Website: http://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/

 

 

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Gadawodd Ian Cameron anodiad ()

The Housing and Property Chamber decline to explain their unlawful conduct here. It can be concluded that the process is totally corrupt and unlawful.

In this case the landlord, Michael Monk, failed to undertake repairs, plus other requirements, over the period of 16+ months when there was a Repairing Standard Enforcement Order on the property, Addiewell, Glasgow Road, Sanquhar. In the end, rather than take appropriate action (or indeed any action) against him the tribunal members removed the RSEO despite the fact it had not been complied with by the landlord. This was unlawful conduct on their part, not the first time they had acted unlawfully in this case.

The Tribunal members, notably Ms J Taylor, made a number of errors in law which favoured the landlord. These were appealed but due to the corrupt process that operates here, Ms Taylor was responsible for dealing with the appeals and she found in favour of herself, no surprise there then.

On a number of occasions, the Tribunal members were engaged in conversation with the landlord outwith a Hearing and he could be heard defaming his tenant. They were willing to participate in these conversations and later declined to admit this was unlawful. There was then further covering up by the Housing and Property Chamber, plus the bodies who are supposed to monitor them.

It can be concluded that The Housing and Property Chamber is a body which is totally corrupt. It displays a gross bias in favour of landlords (or at least Michael Monk) and behaves in an unlawful manner. It is not fit for purpose and should be the subject of a criminal investigation.