Rent Repayment Orders, Landlords are you at risk? by Fariz Uvais
25th March 2023
25th March 2023
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Rent Repayment Orders (RROs) are a legal mechanism in England that allows tenants to seek repayment of rent from their landlords in certain circumstances. One of these circumstances is where the landlord has committed a criminal offence, such as renting out a property that is not licensed, be it a selective licence or a house in multiple occupation (HMO) licence.
To apply for an RRO, tenants must make an application to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) within 12 months of the alleged offence. The tribunal will consider the evidence and may order the landlord to repay some or all of the rent paid by the tenant during the period of the offence, up to a maximum of 12 months' rent.
It is important to note that not all breaches of the law or contract will result in an RRO, and that tenants must have acted lawfully themselves in order to be eligible for an RRO. Additionally, landlords can challenge RRO applications and may be required to pay the tenant's legal costs if the application is unsuccessful.
In a development that may provide some relief to certain landlords, recently the Supreme Court gave judgment in the case of Rakusen v Jepsen & Ors, which concerned the issue of whether Rent Repayment Orders (RROs) could be made against a "superior landlord" in a chain of tenancies. The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that RROs could only be made against a tenant's immediate landlord, and not against a landlord higher up in a chain of tenancies, which will give comfort to those landlords higher up in the chain who do not have direct contracts with occupiers.
As always, the rules relevant to these applications are complex and professional advice should be obtained before any action is taken.
Fariz Uvais is a consultant solicitor at Fahri LLP based in Whetstone North London. With a modern and forward-thinking approach, their team of highly qualified legal experts are committed to giving you the very best advice and exceptional service.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article should not be construed as legal advice and the information is offered for information purposes only.
You should always seek advice from an appropriately qualified solicitor on any specific legal enquiry.