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Housing Complaints Committee

Last modified October 2018

What can be appealed to the Housing Complaints Committee?

  1. Disagreement between tenants and landlords regarding the implementation and/or the drafting of a lease under the Rent Act, No. 36/1994. 
  2. Disagreement between the owners of multi-unit housing concerning their rights and obligations pursuant to the Act on Multi-unit Housing, No. 26/1994.
  3. Disputes that may arise between landlords and lessees of lots for houses in an area of recreational homes. Disagreement concerning rights and obligations in areas of recreational homes, cf. the Act on Areas of Recreational Homes and Rental of Lots for Recreational Homes, No. 75/2008, can also be appealed to the Committee.

Deadline for appeal

There is no deadline for appeal to the Complaints Committee except if the case concerns recreational homes, cf. Art. 12 of Act No. 75/2008 on the right to appeal concerning a lease for the lot of a recreational home.

Procedure of the Committee

Procedure of the Committee in matters concerning the Rent Act, No. 36/1994

The adoption of Act No. 63/2016 amended the Rent Act, including providing for the Housing Complaints Committee to issue binding rulings on cases based on the Rent Act when the lease was concluded after the entry into force of the Act. Parties with leases of an earlier date may agree that Act No. 63/2016 shall apply to their leases.

Leases concluded prior to the entry into force of Act No. 63/2016

If the case and documentation presented by the party requesting an opinion are considered sufficient, the counterparty is allowed a time limit of ten days to respond to the complaint. A copy of the counterparty’s statement is then sent to the party requesting an opinion, after which both parties are given the opportunity to submit their comments. Once all information is considered to be available, the case is accepted for resolution and a ruling is pronounced.

If, however, the case and documentation of the party requesting an opinion are insufficient, he/she is given a ten-day time limit to rectify this, otherwise the case will be cancelled.

A case may also conceivably be dismissed, either immediately or at a later stage. Immediate dismissal may occur, for instance, if the disagreement does not in fact concern an interpretation of the Rent Act. Dismissal at a later stage could occur, for instance, if difficulties concerning proof are so great that the matter can only be resolved with the provision of proof before a court.

Disputes cannot be appealed to another administrative authority; however, the parties can naturally refer their dispute to the courts in the normal manner.

Leases concluded after the entry into force of Act No. 63/2016

If the case and documentation presented by the complainant are considered sufficient, the counterparty is allowed a time limit of ten days to respond to the complaint. A copy of the counterparty’s statement is then sent to the complainant, after which both parties are given the opportunity to submit their comments. Once all information is considered to be available, the case is accepted for resolution and a ruling is pronounced.

If, however, the complainant’s case and documentation is insufficient, the complainant is given a ten-day time limit to rectify this, otherwise the case will be cancelled.

A case may also conceivably be dismissed, either immediately or at a later stage. Immediate dismissal may occur, for instance, if the disagreement does not in fact concern an interpretation of the Rent Act. Dismissal at a later stage could occur, for instance, if difficulties concerning proof are so great that the matter can only be resolved with the provision of proof before a court.

Rulings of the Complaints Committee based on the Rent Act are binding on the parties and cannot be referred to a higher administrative authority. The parties may refer a Committee ruling to the courts within eight weeks from the date it was issued, in which case its legal effect is suspended until judgment is pronounced. If a court action is initiated concerning a Committee ruling, the Committee may postpone handling comparable cases in progress until judgment is pronounced in the case.

Rulings of the Housing Complaints Committee are enforceable without a prior court order.

If a complaint based on the Rent Act is obviously unfounded, in the estimation of the Complaints Committee, the Committee may order the complainant to pay the counterparty’s legal costs. Enforcement proceedings for legal costs can be carried out without a court order.

Procedure of the Committee in matters concerning the Act on Multi-unit Housing, No. 26/1994

If the case and documentation presented by the party requesting an opinion are considered sufficient, the counterparty is allowed a time limit of ten days to respond to the complaint. A copy of the counterparty’s statement is then sent to the party requesting an opinion, after which both parties are given the opportunity to submit their comments. Once all information is considered to be available, the case is accepted for resolution and a ruling is pronounced.

If, however, the case and documentation of the party requesting an opinion are insufficient, he/she is given a ten-day time limit to rectify this, otherwise the case will be cancelled.

A case may also conceivably be dismissed, either immediately or at a later stage. Dismissal at the beginning may occur, for instance, if the disagreement does not in fact concern an interpretation of the Act on Multi-unit Housing. Dismissal at a later stage could occur, for instance, if difficulties concerning proof are so great that the matter can only be resolved with the provision of proof before a court.

Disputes cannot be appealed to another administrative authority; however, the parties can naturally refer their dispute to the courts in the normal manner.

Procedure of the Committee in matters concerning the Act on Areas of Recreational Homes and Rental of Lots for Recreational Homes, No. 75/2008

Complaints

A complaint under Art. 12 of Act No. 75/2008, cf. Articles 13-15, must include information on the complainant, the party against whom the complaint is directed (the counterparty), the land plot ID of the recreational home concerned in the dispute and the cadastral number of structures on the lot.

The complaint must state the complainant’s claims and give a brief description of the circumstances and legal premises of the case, and grounds.

The complaint must always be accompanied by a copy of a previous lease and, as applicable, termination or notifications.

The complainant’s claims must fall within the scope of the Committee pursuant to Articles 13-15.

If the above conditions are not met, the Complaints Committee shall request that the complainant rectify the deficiencies within a reasonable time limit. If the complainant fails to comply with this, the Complaints Committee shall dismiss the case. A case shall be dismissed if it is received outside the time limits prescribed in Art. 12 of the Act. The counterparty shall be informed of the dismissal.

If a complaint is admissible, the Committee can allow the counterparty an opportunity to comment on the subject of the complaint.

Once both parties have expressed their views, the Complaints Committee shall seek reconciliation, unless it considers it certain that a conciliation attempt will be unsuccessful due to the circumstances of the case, the position of a party or other reasons.

Cases shall be presented in writing; however, parties may be given the opportunity to submit comments orally.

Should information be lacking on matters which may be of significance, the Committee may request that the parties gather documentation to shed light on these matters.

If necessary the Committee may make an on-site visit after summoning the parties.

Once gathering of documentation is complete, the Complaints Committee shall issue a ruling as promptly as practicable.

Opinion

If parties dispute the application of provisions of Chapter III of Act No. 75/2008, they may refer the dispute to the Housing Complaints Committee, which will provide a reasoned opinion.

Submissions to the Complaints Committee must be in writing and explain clearly the issue in dispute, the claims of the party and arguments in support of them.

The Complaints Committee will give the counterparty the opportunity to present his/her views and claims.

The Complaints Committee may request all necessary information and documentation and request the opinion of others involved or affected by the case.

In other respects, the Administrative Procedures Act shall apply.

Opinions and rulings of the Housing Complaints Committee pursuant to Act No. 75/2008 are final at the administrative level.

Duration of procedure

Handling of cases by the Housing Complaints Committee takes on average two months.

Cost

The procedure is free of charge to the parties.

Forms

Complaint forms are available from the following bodies:

  • Welfare Appeals Committee, Katrínartún 2, 105 Reykjavík
  • Housing Financing Fund, Borgartún 21, 105 Reykjavik
  • Housing committees of local authorities
  • National Association of Holiday Homeowners (Icel. Landssamband sumarhúsaeigenda), Suðurlandsbraut 30, 108 Reykjavík

The forms facilitate handling of cases by the Committee and ensure that the necessary information is available at the beginning of the procedure.

A clear explanation must be given of the issue in dispute, the party's claim and the grounds for it. Use of the forms is not mandatory.

Electronic complaint forms 

(please select the form which applies to the category in question):

Forms in PDF form for completion

(please select the form which applies to the category in question):

The use of Acrobat Reader is recommended for filling out forms in PDF format. Using other applications or browser add-ons may cause problems with Icelandic characters. Save the document to your computer by right-clicking on the link and choosing Save as/Save link as/Save target as (depending on your browser). Then open the document as usual in Acrobat Reader, fill it out and save it.

Accompanying documents

When sending a complaint to the Committee it is important to include all necessary documentation. This could include, for example, leases, correspondence between the parties, minutes of meetings, blueprints, connection drawings, property division statements, publicly registered documents, lot leases, photographs etc.

Seat of the Committee 

Welfare Appeals Committee
Katrínartún 2
105 Reykjavík

Email: kh@urvel.is
Tel.: 551 8200 Phone hours are from 10 to 12 am.

Publication of opinions and rulings

Opinions and rulings are published here on the web

Names of individuals and locations are redacted in the official publication. The exception to this is that the street and house number appear if a case is based on the Act on Multi-unit Housing and concerns the term “house”, i.e. whether a building is considered one house or several.

Useful Links:

- PDF forms can be filled in on screen, saved to the desktop and printed.

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