Appeals against a Fair Rent decision
If either you or your landlord is unhappy with the rent set by the Rent Officer, you each have a right of appeal to the Rent Assessment Committee within 28 days of getting the decision. The Rent assessment Committee will hear the case all over again.
If there is an appeal you should get advice. This is a complex area and unless you are very sure of your arguments you would be better off with help or representation.
If a rent is appealed to the Rent Assessment Committee, the two year period before a new fair rent application can be made runs from the date of their decision.
Appealing - Point to consider
Unless you are sure that the Rent Officer has set an unreasonably high rent it is not usually worth applying to the Rent Assessment Committee, as it increases rents more often than it reduces them. It is much more common for landlords to appeal to the Rent Assessment Committee than it is for tenants.
What if your landlord has put the rent up without following the correct procedure?
If you are a protected tenant and your landlord has put the rent up without using a Section 51 agreement or going to the Rent Officer you may be entitled to some money back. It is best to get advice - there are some simple ways of claiming back the money, but a mistake could leave you in rent arrears.
You may be entitled to some money back if:
- the landlord has increased the rent incorrectly since you have been living there
- you discover that a Fair Rent has already been registered on your home, which you were unaware about, or
- the landlord has raised the rent to the level set by the Rent Officer, but has not given you the correct notice of increase
How much rent should you pay?
If you live with your Landlord, or in a hostel, or in a B&B, or similar
If you are a licensee rather than a tenant or you live in the same premises as your landlord, you normally have fewer rights than described for, assured shorthold tenants, assured tenants or protected tenants.
Legally you have to pay whatever rent was agreed with your landlord when you moved in. If you think you are paying too much you can try and negotiate with your landlord for the rent to be reduced, but you don't have many rights to back you up. Get advice on your options.
If you are a council tenant, or a Housing Association tenant who started your tenancy before January 1989, you are probably a secure tenant. Secure tenants are protected by 'fair rent' controls in a similar way to Protected private tenants. If you think your rent is too high, or the proposed rent increase is too high you can contact the Rents Officer.
The Rent Officer for the Isles of Scilly can be contacted at:
1st Floor, Courtleigh House, 74-75 Lemon Street, Truro, Cornwall, Tel: 01872 274703
Some tenants have to pay service charges in addition to their rent. There are separate rules that deal with service charges and other variable charges not covered by the Rent Assessment Committees or Rent Officers. It is a complex area, so if you are in this position, get advice.
All tenants: unfair terms in your contract
Whatever sort of tenant you are the terms of your tenancy agreement should be written in clear language and should not contain unfair terms. These are clauses written into the contract by the landlord which gives them too much advantage over you. They may be traps hidden in the small print, which impose unfair penalties, restrictions or obligations upon you as the tenant. If your tenancy agreement contains unfair terms you can get help to have these removed. Your landlord should not be able to enforce these terms because they are not binding.
Examples of unfair terms about rent are things like
- adding in charges for repairs which are the landlord's responsibility
- charging you extra penalty costs for late payment of rent
- unfair rent increase clauses
Get advice if you think some of the terms in your contract are unfair, or if you want to take action.
The Office of Fair Trading
You can complain to the Office of Fair Trading about unfair terms in you tenancy agreement. Write to:
Unfair Contract Terms Unit
Office of Fair Trading (external site)
2-6 Salisbury Square
phone: 020 7211 8948 or 08457 224499
You can also complain to your local trading standards department about a landlord's unfair terms. The address for the Isles of Scilly is:
Cornwall County Council
Trading Standards Department
Unit 6 Threemilestone Industrial Estate
t: 08454 040506
f: 01872 324394
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