Tribunal Online Session


#1

As discussed I have opened up this thread so that we can chat about the First-tier Tribunal (Housing & Property Chamber) Scotland. The topics for discussion are as follows:

• What do members think about the First-Tier tribunal?

• What could make it better and easier to use?

• What could shelter do to make it easier for people to use?

I have attached

  1. The Tribunal Website: https://www.housingandpropertychamber.scot/
  2. Shelter Scotland Tribunal help page: https://scotland.shelter.org.uk/get_advice/advice_topics/repairs_and_bad_conditions/repairs_in_private_rented_accommodation/first_tier_tribunal_for_scotland
  3. Some help videos we have created to raise awareness of when and how the Tribunal may benefit a tenant: (Videos 3 & 4) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHUMju6IpXY&list=PL7ASpB_MUbUTkHqLVYP9_uMB8rg3duixL&index=6

It would be great if you can have a look at some of the links and then we can discuss tomorrow.

Kind Regards

James


#2

Morning Folks, Ill be here from now(ish) until around 12:15. I attached the links above. Did you manage to open them okay - what do you think of the tribunal website. Is it clear to you what it is for and what it does ?


#3

Hi James. Thanks for setting this up. Just looking at the Apply tab.

https://www.housingandpropertychamber.scot/apply-tribunal

It surprises me a bit that they don’t even mention Applying (and send you to that) from the home page. I’d suggest it’s far too subtle at the moment; they should be highlighting and stressing the redress point much more, I think.

It also confuses me a bit that some of the numbers on the Apply page just jump to a page on “Other Private Tenancy Applications” and there’s no extra info to be gleaned from clicking on them. Do you know what’s going on with that?

Bit mad that they make you scroll through that long list of application options in the first instance too. Be better if their Apply page made you click on your tenancy type first and then gave the respective list, no? It could link to the Shelter Scotland website if folk are unclear what tenancy they have and need help to determine that? Maybe they do it this way so you can see e.g wrongful termination without knowing it’s a PRT you have - but some kind of smart search facility could do that better, I reckon.


#4

Hi all. A basic point would be that the Tribunal website is very user unfriendly. It has a lot of jargon and legalise and doesn’t seem very welcoming or accessible for tenants. Information should be quick and easy to find (the Shelter Scotland website is in stark contrast!). I haven’t gone through the process of accessing the Tribunal but if the application procedure is similar to the website and/or is complex and slow then it won’t work well.

I did however access the former private rented housing panel and my experience of this was that it was very slow, not fit for purpose and inflexible. I had a broken boiler in the middle of winter and the system was completely unsuitable to deal with these types of almost crisis situations. There should be a simple way to log complaints online that are automatically flagged for action after a very limited time period, with penalties for landlords/letting agents. We were without hot water or heating for 4 weeks, this should not be allowed to happen under any circumstances, we won the appeal.


#5

Morning Parker_Tron, yes I see what you mean. There are a number of different reasons why someone may use the tribunal so the applications do have to be different.

The Tribunal website has 7 separate categories (Evictions, Let Agents, Property Factors, Rent & terms, Repairs, Right of Entry and Other Private Tenancy Applications) so there are a number of diff applications within the other category.

Do you think you would know what forms to use and when? eg. repair or rent increase


#6

Morning Duncan, what do you think in particular makes it user unfriendly - is it the way it is laid out or is it the language used or something else? There is also a further website which may assist applicants (created by Scottish Govt.) I’ll attach it below in a tic.


#7

https://www.mygov.scot/organisations/housing-and-property-chamber/


#8

Sorry James, I still don’t understand why it jumps to “Other Private Tenancy Applications” like that. I thought the Apply page was covering everything? I confess I still haven’t found time to study this but it annoys me that it’s so un user-friendly. It should be asking you, off the bat, why are you here/what do you want help with - and giving the 7 categories to pick from. And/or letting you start you search by tenancy type maybe without wading through that list.


#9

Both the language and the design, it looks like it is designed for legal experts.


#10

Think this is interesting point - They have Useful Links section which links to our home page (amongst other organisational links. There is also a feedback section in the Contact Us page but it doesn’t look like they link to mygov.scot page.


#11

What do you think of the other mygov.scot helpsite. Is that easier to use do you think?


#12

The more I look at this site the more convoluted it gets ! Now i see that in depth info on what you can apply for in each category seems to be buried in the tiny FAQs link on the right hand side. There is too much text on each page aswell - it’s just going to put people off. It’s very bad web design.


#13

So, all of the different applications are listed on left hand side. They are then split into one of 7 categories on the right hand side.

I think that the idea is that you scroll down until you find the particular application you are looking for OR you can click one of the 7 categories on the right hand side to access all the information about a particular category.


#14

What do you think of the other mygov.scot helpsite. Is that easier to use do you think?


#15

Well, the layout is very easy on the eye and that’s good but is it even talking about e.g wrongful termination cos I don’t see that. Seems, on first glance, to be about rent or repair stuff only and the remit is much greater now since the PRT isn’t it. .


#16

Good point on the Wrongful Termination Order. So far as i can see it doesn’t look like this is covered on mygov.scot. (It is on the Tribunal website at the bottom under Chapter 12 Rule 110)


#17

What do we think of Shelter Scotland resources to tell people what the Tribunal is and how to use it?


#18

Yes it’s definitely a better design with plain language. If English isn’t your first language or if you’re vulnerable and going through a bitter dispute, a friendlier and easier way to access support would be welcome. Even the name “The First-tier Tribunal for Scotland Housing and Property Chamber” is complex and doesn’t explain what it is or does.


#19

Good point Duncan - on that note - what do you think of the application forms? Did you manage to open one?


#20