What is a Rent Repayment Order?
Councils and tenants can apply to have rent repaid by a landlord that has operated an unlicensed House of Multiple Occupation or any other property that should have been licensed according to Local Authority regulations, ie Additional or Selective Licensing schemes. The application is made to the First-tier (Property) Tribunal. The tribunal can award up to 12 months of rent to be repaid from the date of the application.
Applications for a Rent Repayment Order can be made for the following reasons:
Property is unlicensed but should have been during the tenancy
Harassment by the landlord or agent
Violent entry by the landlord or agent
Landlord broke a banning order, prohibition notice or improvement notice issued by the Local Authority
How long does the process take?
This varies but the Tribunal has a duty to progress the case as rapidly as possible. Normally we expect a hearing and judgement within 3 to 4 months.
What is involved?
Flat Justice will help you to prepare evidence and documentation for the application. There is an application fee which will be paid by Flat Justice in the first instance (unless you qualify for a fee waiver). There will then be a Case Managament Conference (CMC) which Flat Justice will attend on your behalf. The Tribunal will fix a date for the Hearing of your case where you will also be represented by Flat Justice.
Subsequent to the Hearing there may be an appeal or further court proceedings to recover any unpaid awards: Flat Justice will continue to represent you in these instances.
What is a House of Multiple Occupation/ HMO?
Currently mandatory licensing applies nationwide to HMOs that:
1. Comprise 3 or more storeys; 1 of the storeys may be a comercial unit, so a 2 storey flat over a shop counts as 3 storeys
2. Are occupied by 5 or more people living in more than 1 household; and
3. The occupiers share basic amenities such as washing and cooking facilities.
N.B.: From October 2018, the 3 storey limit doesn’t apply
Councils may have additional or selective licensing requirements for properties that do not fall under mandatory licensing.
What are separate households?
· unrelated people/groups of people. So a husband & wife and a stepson would count as all related = 1 household.
· 3 friends sharing a flat are 3 households
· A couple who are living together are counted as a single household whether they are married or not. Applies to opposite and same sex couples.
Also counted as a single household are foster children and foster parent/s, a carer and the person being cared for, and, in some circumstances domestic employees living with their employer.
More details here...
More details here...
What's the difference: Mandatory/Additional/Selective licensing?
All Mandatory HMOs are licensable wherever they are. However Local Authorities (LAs) have the power to create extra licensing schemes. 'Additional' schemes basically include more HMOs by reducing the criteria, eg no storey limitation or fewer occupants. Typically they include HMOs with 3 or more sharers comprised of 2 or more households. 'Selective' licensing schemes are often not related to the number of occupants: they are geographic. Typically they specify that all let properties in a street or borough ward must be licensed.
Which Boroughs operate Additional or Selective Licensing schemes?
Easier to say which don't: Bromley, City of London, Enfield, Hackney (but coming soon), Kensington & Chelsea, Lambeth, Merton, Richmond-Upon-Thames, Sutton, Wandsworth.
Nearly all let properties have to have a licence in: Barking & Dagenham, Croydon, Newham & Waltham Forest.
Hammersmith & Fulham also has extensive licensing schemes- both Additional and Selective.
The rest all have varying degrees of extra licensing.
Of course all boroughs have to licence mandatory HMOs.
To check out your situation in detail, please look at this website:
Click there on the orange SELECT BOROUGH tab and choose your borough. The site is selling a licensing service for landlords....but they have great information that's been recently researched.