A nationwide newspaper has recently published a story of an aggrieved tenant who successfully took his landlord to court and won £15,000.
The tenant claimed that he had a terrible experience with his landlord and the property in which he resided. He claimed that the Landlord refused to return his £700 deposit and upon further investigation it later transpired that the deposit was not only left unprotected (contrary to the applicable rules) but that the house in which he resided was an HMO (house in multiple occupation) that was unlicenced.
Since 2007, Landlords must ensure that deposits are protected within one of the recognised schemes. Failing to protect the deposit within 30 days of having received it, leaves the Landlord open to a potential claim from the tenant of up to 3 times the deposit PLUS the right to have the deposit returned.
Any house in multiple occupation (HMO) must be licenced. Failing to obtain a licence from the relevant authority could result in significant penalties – namely tenants being able to claim back rent that was paid to the landlord via a rent repayment order.
There are several organisations that generally work on a no win no fee basis to assist tenants where there are reasons to believe that their landlords may have breached their statutory obligations. Following the recent case of Williams v Parmar, judges are also now more inclined to consider the financial circumstances of the landlord and award damages according to their ability. A “professional landlord” is a landlord who is considered to have many assets, and as a result may suffer harsher penalties.
Press articles such as this recent one not only serve as a firm reminder to Landlords that they must ensure they comply with their legal obligations, they also publicise the options available to tenants to effectively deal with errant landlords. Unfamiliarity with the law or the applicable statutory provisions will not assist the landlords in any way.
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 all committed to giving you the very best advice and exceptional service. Fariz is on hand to answer your legal queries, please send your questions to Fahri LLP, 1268a High Road Whetstone, London N20 9HH or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.