Also referred to as an RRO, a Rent Repayment Order is when a landlord is ordered to repay the rent a tenant has paid them. This can be up to 12 months’ worth of rent and the order is decreed by a Tribunal.
UK Rent Repayment Order and How to Avoid RRO – London Landlords
If there are five people living in the property then the landlord must apply for an HMO licence.
The most common reason for receiving an RRO (especially in London where there is a high demand for rental property by tenants) is having an unlicensed HMO. Landlords who rent their property to three tenants or more in areas such as Tooting, Balham, Brixton are particularly at risk of this – especially if they don’t carry out regular checks.
That’s because in these areas the local authority Housing rules state that a property with three or more individuals renting must adhere to certain HMO guidelines. These include minimum standards with regard to:
- The size of the bedrooms in the property
- Fire safety measures
- Kitchen and toilet/bathing facilities
- Furniture and fittings
- Landlord duties
The reason it is important for the landlord to make regular checks on the property – or appoint an agent to do so – is because one of the tenants may move in a partner without letting on. As a result, the property becomes an unlicensed HMO under the local authority regulations. We can help with property services and legal advice for landlords.
Tooting, Sutton, Carshalton and Wimbledon Property Management Services London
The particular ruling of the RRO describes the offence/s as:
“having control of, or managing, an unlicensed property, under s.95 Housing Act 2004” (ie having an HMO with more than three but less than five people)
And, in the event another tenant has also moved in his or her partner/friend:
“having control of, or managing, an unlicensed house in multiple occupation (HMO), under s.72 Housing Act 2004”
In both cases it’s not important that the landlord didn’t know about the ‘unintentional’ HMO in his or her case. The Tribunal will look at the facts ie that it happened.
Landlord Rental and Rent Refunds – Court Order and Tribunal
A Tribunal can insist that the landlord return up to a year’s worth of rent to a tenant, if found guilty of the offence. This could be housing benefit or universal credit if the tenant isn’t working and receiving government benefits.
The landlord doesn’t even need to have been convicted for an RRO to be awarded, just that the Tribunal believe an offence has occurred beyond reasonable doubt.
The landlord may also be ordered to pay the legal costs of the applicant (in addition to having pay his or her own costs of instructing a solicitor).
How the application for an RRO is made
Your tenant can apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber). Although the application can also be made by the local housing authority. The application must be made within 12 months of the tenant residing in your property.
In the case of the local authority they must send the landlord a notice of intended proceedings, stating the reasons they are applying for the RRO and how much they seek to recover. They then offer the landlord an opportunity to explain the situation. Having considered the landlord’s reply, they can apply for the RRO if they feel it’s warranted. This all comes under the statutory guidance on Rent repayment orders (Housing and Planning Act 2016).
What happens during an appeal
Both sides ie applicant and landlord submit their evidence at the First-tier Tribunal. The applicant is then usually an opportunity to respond to the landlord’s comments. A hearing between a judge and two Tribunal members then takes place, and a decision made. Landlords can appeal against the RRO to the Upper Tribunal, provided there is a legal basis for doing so.
Why Appoint Next Step Estates to Let your property
Do you need a reliable letting agency / managing agent for your rental property in Tooting, Sutton, Carshalton and Wimbledon? Then here at Next Step Estates we carry out regular checks on all our tenanted properties with documented inspection reports.
We personally live in the area and have, in fact, been working as an estate agent in SW17 for the past 15 years. That means we know the area inside out. We also take pride in providing all our landlords with a highly personal service. For more information on our SW17 estate agency service call 020 8767 6181 or email us today.