Rent Reviews and Rating Assessments

3. Using a Third Party

If you cannot agree the new rent, the lease usually specifies that a third party should resolve the dispute and sets out the procedure to be followed.

3.1 First try to agree on an independent third party, such as a local chartered surveyor.

  • You can veto the landlord’s suggestion, if you think this person favours the landlord.
  • If you cannot agree the appointment, an independent appointment must usually be made by the president of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

3.2 An arbitrator’s decision will be based on evidence presented by you and the landlord.

  • Your professional adviser can help you build and put forward a strong case.
  • The arbitrator decides how the fees and costs of the parties should be apportioned.If there is a clear loser who is seen to have been unreasonable, that party could be ordered to pay the full costs.

3.3 An independent expert’s decision will be based on his or her own knowledge and investigations.

  • The independent expert need not consult you or the landlord.
  • Usually you split the fees equally with the landlord and pay your own costs, even if you win the appeal.

3.4 The major drawbacks of going to a third party is the cost, as well as the time.

  • The fees are usually agreed by you and the landlord with the third party when he or she is appointed.
  • You can expect to pay at least £1,000, plus the cost of your own professional advisers.
  • The third party’s decision is usually announced once the fees have been paid.

3.5 Once the third party’s decision is made, any rent owed is payable immediately.

  • The new rent is backdated to the rent review date. Interest is likely to be payable.

3.6 The alternative way to settle a rent dispute if your lease allows it, is to use a mediator. You and your landlord need to agree who the mediator will be.

  • Using a mediator may be a quick and cheap solution. The mediator has no authority to impose a rent on either party.

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