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East Midlands Landlord Accreditation Scheme

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Landlord Disputes

In the event of a landlord-tenant dispute that is a complaint that does not directly relate to property conditions, EMLAS will deal with the matter by means which may involve

  • conciliation
  • mediation
  • arbitration
  • formal investigation
  • referral to another body

Breaches of Scheme Requirements

In the event of a landlord-tenant dispute due to a complaint which directly relates to property conditions a property inspection will take place. The possible outcomes of a property inspection check are proportionate to the findings. Following inspection a failure to comply with EMLAS requirements may be determined to be of the following categories;

Minor non-compliance ~ landlords are informed verbally, the issues confirmed in writing and a copy letter kept on file. There is no follow up action as landlords are trusted to remedy any breaches of the scheme.

Moderate non-compliance ~ landlords are informed verbally, the necessary remedial action is confirmed in writing and the case is followed up to ensure that remedial action has been taken. This may require a later inspection to ensure compliance.

Significant non-compliance ~ the same action as described above may be taken, but in addition, other properties owned by the landlord are also inspected. Following this, a decision will be made as to whether a landlord is asked to remedy the shortfalls, or whether the overall level of non-compliance is serious enough for disciplinary action.

Serious non-compliance ~ the same action as described above can be taken in addition to the case being referred for disciplinary action. Serious non-compliance may be due to a RAL persistently failing to comply with the Code of Management or failure to comply after being informed of a breach.

Imminent Risk to Health or Safety

If, on inspection, conditions are identified at a property that present an imminent risk to health and/or safety, and EMLAS feels that the landlord may not act sufficiently quickly to remedy the situation, EMLAS may refer the case to the enforcement officers of the local authority.

If following the completion of the investigation, EMLAS is of the opinion that the complaint is not substantiated, then the complainant will be informed accordingly together with the reasons for the opinion.

Disciplinary Action

Where there is significant or serious non-compliance either due to a single breach or a series of breaches with the Code of Management EMLAS may take disciplinary action against a landlord.

Disciplinary action may include:
Written warning A final warning before further action is taken
Suspension of Membership For a stated limited time period or until breaches are remedied.

In both the above cases a clear written statement of what must be done to comply with the scheme requirements and a time for compliance must be given to the landlord in writing.

Removal of Membership For significant non-compliance with the scheme requirements EMLAS may remove the landlord from the scheme and exclude them for a limited period of time or indefinitely. The landlord will be informed of this in writing stating the reasons for the decision, the date the decision was made and the date the removal of membership comes into effect. Landlords who lose their accredited status will no longer be participants of, or eligible for, any of the benefits of the Scheme.

Complaints against EMLAS or Participating Local Authorities

Landlords wishing to make a formal complaint about any aspect of the scheme should make representations to EMLAS in the first instance. EMLAS must consider the formal complaint and take appropriate action. The landlord will be informed of the outcome of the consideration, any action taken or to be taken in writing within 28 days. Where agreement cannot be reached and therefore a dispute exists, landlords may refer the matter to the Review Panel for a hearing.

Appeals Procedure

The intention is to resolve complaints as early as possible. The appeals procedure has the following stages:

Stage 1 – EMLAS
If the complaint cannot be resolved between the parties concerned, it may be referred to the RSO who will consider the case and make recommendations for resolution, in accordance with the Regulatory Procedures in section 4.0. The case can be referred to Stage 2 by any relevant party if not in agreement with the decision of the RSO.

Stage 2 - Review Panel
Any case, regardless of its nature, may be referred to the Review Panel by any relevant party not satisfied with the decision of the RSO.

All parties will have the opportunity to present their case in person and the panel will decide on appropriate course of action. No legal representation is required, however all parties are permitted to bring witnesses to the hearing to support their case. Before the hearing, both parties may provide the RSO with any paperwork supporting their case, in order that copies can be supplied to both parties and to the Review Panel members.

At the hearing, cases may be presented with both parties present. Members of the Review Panel are entitled to cross-examine both parties. Opposing parties are not permitted to cross examine each other but may request clarification, or put questions through the Panel.

Stage 3 - Final Appeal
Complainants not satisfied with the decision of the Review Panel will be entitled to make an appeal against the decision to the Chair of the RSG.

The Review Panel

A landlord or tenant may appeal any decision made by the RSO to the Review Panel to which they will have the opportunity to make representations.

If a complaint is not resolved at previous stages, or if a landlord or tenant is not satisfied with a decision of the RSO they may apply to have a Review Panel Hearing. There are two types of review panel:

  • The Full Review Panel
  • The Fast Track Review Panel

The complainant may choose which panel to refer their case to on advice from the RSO. Minor issues should be referred to the Fast Track Review Panel, and more complex cases should be referred to the Full Review Panel.

The Fast Track Review Panel is comprised of three persons, one of whom is the Chairperson, one who is a representative of a landlord association, and the third is a representative of the authority in which the property is located that is the subject of the complaint. This is intended to be used for less complicated or serious matters for consideration and can be undertaken by submission of statements, evidence and documents and does not necessarily require a meeting of those involved.

The Full Review Panel comprises seven persons. One of whom is the Chairperson of the RSG. The membership of the Full Review Panel is selected by the Chairperson and is a balanced cross section of representation in order that no particular private rented sector interest group may have an overall influence. The Panel includes a representative of the authority in which the property is located that is the subject of the complaint. The Full Review Panel hearing will take place for more serious or complicated matters, or when an agreement cannot be obtained to have the matter heard by a Fast Track Review Panel.

The procedures for the hearings of a Review Panel Hearing must be reasonable, fair and balanced and are conducted informally.

Review Panel Decisions

The Review Panel may

  • uphold,
  • amend,
  • or reverse

any decision taken by EMLAS, and may make a decision based on a majority view.

The Review Panel can direct EMLAS, participating Local Authorities or landlords to take such action as is necessary to comply with the Scheme Requirements.

The Review Panel may decide on an appropriate regulatory provision as detailed above or further course of action which may include providing the landlord with the opportunity to carry out any necessary remedial action within a given time.

The result of any disciplinary action will be a matter of public record.

The Review Panel will consider the reinstatement of accreditation status if the landlord is able to demonstrate that following remedial action they are capable of meeting the requirements of the scheme.

The Review Panel must reach a decision as soon as possible then ask the RSO, on their behalf, to notify the landlord and tenant(s) of their decision in writing within 5 working days of reaching that decision.