From 1 December 2017 all applications made by private landlords concerning eviction and civil proceedings must be made to the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland Housing and Property Chamber (FTT). Jurisdiction in such matters transferred from the Sheriff Court to the FTT by section 16 of Housing (Scotland) Act 2014. The FTT sits in Glasgow headed by a Chamber President and is comprised of legal members and ordinary members who are well versed in the legal aspects of the housing and property sphere.
Since the jurisdictional shift, I have dealt with numerous applications on behalf of landlords. The process has been quite refreshing. Applications are relatively straight forward in design. Hearings take place in neutral venues across the country outside of the formal court setting litigators are accustomed to. The FTT’s services are free of charge making the process more cost effective for our clients. Formal lodging by email is also a welcome benefit.
However, the decisions emanating from the FTT have been inconsistent, particularly with regards awarding 8% judicial interest on claims for payment of rent arrears. It was common place to crave interest on orders for payment in the old Sheriff Court Summary Cause procedure in actions relating to heritable property. Where interest is included in a decree/extract, it was deemed to be at the rate of 8% as specified by Act of Sederunt (Interest in Sheriff Court Decrees and Extracts) 1993 and the Sheriff Courts (Scotland) Extracts Act 1892. In terms of section 16 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2014 “The functions and jurisdiction of the sheriff in relation to actions arising from…. an assured tenancy (within the meaning of section 12 of the Housing (Scotland) Act 1988) are transferred to the First-Tier Tribunal”. Given that a sheriff had the ability to grant interest at the judicial rate, it seems clear to me that it is equally as competent for the FTT to grant interest at the judicial rate as well.