Rent assessment committees are made up of two or three people – usually a lawyer, a property valuer and a lay person. They are drawn from rent assessment panels – bodies of people with appropriate expertise appointed by Government Ministers.
There are six rent assessment panels in England and Wales. The committees are independent of both central and local government.
Rent assessment panels have the following functions for private lettings:
- Tenants of assured short-hold tenancies can refer their rent for review during the first six months of their original tenancy, if they consider the rent is above a market rent.
- Tenants of assured/assured short-hold tenancies can refer a rent for review where the landlord has sought to increase it under the notice procedure under s13 of the Housing Act 1988.
- Tenants of assured/assured short-hold tenancies can refer for review a landlords notice of a change in the tenancy agreement terms under section 6 of the Housing Act 1988 (this is very rare and therefore will not be discussed further).
- Either landlords or tenants can refer a rent officer’s decision on a ‘fair rent’ under the Rent Act 1977 if they disagree with it.
There is no appeal against a committee’s decision except on a point of law.
The committee may make a decision by considering the relevant papers although you or the tenant can ask for an informal hearing, which you may both attend. There is no charge for a committee decision. When settling disputes on rent, the committee normally decides what rent you could reasonably expect for the property if you were letting it on the open market under a new tenancy on the same terms.
It does not take into account any increase in the value of the property due to voluntary improvements by the tenant or any reduction in the value of the property caused by the tenant not looking after the property. The committee may agree the proposed rent or set a higher or lower rent.
More information on the work of the Rent Assessment Committees can be found from the Residential Property Tribunal Services website.