BUT - Housing Tribunals cover both existing SAT and PRT tenancies.
The replacement of the Sheriff Courts with Housing Tribunals is designed to empower tenants. Application to the Tribunal is free to Tenants, making it easy to raise actions against landlords they are unhappy with. Add in tenant support organisations and lobby groups such as Shelter, Citizens Advice, SeAscape, Diggs, Circles Network, Ayr Housing Aid and Tribunal will become the place to go to hurt a Landlord.
This means open season on all Scottish Landlords with awkward tenants or properties where maintenance is an issue.
Properties with any form of damp (whether it is the landlord's
fault or not) are easy targets for complaint.
Add in mechanical breakdowns (such as washing machines or boilers),
drafty windows and doors, lack of adequate heating, inadequate fire detection
and all the other factors listed in the Repairs Standards legislation and you
can foresee a lot of time and effort being taken for little reward.
Tribunal members are practicing solicitors and 'property
experts'. No expenses paid to a winning parties so legal representation is likely
to be very low. Indeed a number of Rent
and Legal Protection underwriters no longer cover Scotland for this reason.
The Landlord (not the letting agent) is called to defend against
a complaint at a Tribunal Hearing.
Tribunals can fine landlords, award compensation to tenants and stop
rent payments until any order has been met.