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New regulations governing disputes between landlords and local authorities in relation to the Housing Act 2004 come...
New regulations governing disputes between landlords and local authorities in relation to the Housing Act 2004 come into force today.

The government-sponsored Residential Property Tribunal Service (RPTS), has been given a wide range of new jurisdictions, which will enable it to determine appeals over new legislation implemented under the Act.

Under the Act, local authorities will assess housing conditions using the Housing, Health and Safety Rating System, which replaces the old housing fitness standards. They have also been given responsibility for a new licensing regime for houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) and the selective licensing of landlords in designated areas of low demand for housing where there are problems of anti-social behaviour.

From today, the RPTS will be able to determine appeals over local authority decisions on the licensing of HMOs, the enforcement of the new Housing, Health and Safety Rating System and the licensing of landlords in selected areas, as well as in relation to a range of new housing management orders. The tribunal anticipates handling up to an additional 8,000 cases per year as a result.

RPTS has aimed since its inception to be an accessible and user-friendly tribunal service that is a faster and more affordable alternative to the court system for resolving residential property disputes. Appeals will be made to the new Residential Property Tribunals (RPTs) created under the Act, and will be heard by an expert panel comprising lawyers, surveyors and lay people.

RPTS Senior President Siobhan McGrath said: 'The services offered by RPTS help people solve housing problems that adversely affect their lives simply, quickly and without major cost implications. We are hopeful that the implementation of the new legislation will be a smooth and simple process for landlords and local authorities across the country, but we are keen to highlight our new powers to help resolve disputes, should they arise.'

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