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This is a basic summary of the process of applying to get you rent back through a Rent Repayment Order. Please read through all the advice on this web site to get a clear picture of what's involved. See also Camden's excellent tenant guide to making a RRO application here.

These are the checks you need to make and the steps to take to Get Rent Back:
 
1. Check proof of rental payments, eg bank statements
 
2. Check proof that your property needed a licence. This is a bit tricky: so either it's a Mandatory HMO, in which case you need to show that there were at least 5 occupants sharing amenities such as kitche, bathroom or toilet (see our HMO definition here). Note the "3 or more storeys" requirement was abolished by the Prescribes Descriptions Order 1/10/2018. Or the property was in a borough with an additional or selective licensing scheme: you can check this here (look under your borough). Proof that property was a HMO, eg rental contracts for min. number of tenants to qualify as HMO during your rental period
 
3. Check proof of allegation. eg,for licensing: email from Local Authority/Council confirming property unlicensed during rental. For harassment you will need sworn statements of tenants
 
4. Fill out & send RRO1 form with evidence (respect format with content & appendices). Enclose cheque for £100 or application for waiver (only if approx. <£1100/month earnings & <£3000 savings). You can have multiple tenants covered by 1 fee and 1 application, but 1 person should be chosen as the representative. You don’t need a solicitor. Decide also on a postal address for correspondence- the tribunal posts everything even though they email you as well if you request it. Keep a copy/scan of the application!
 
5. First tier Tribunal contacts and arranges for a Case Management Conference (CMC) appointment with you and the landlord and/or their representative/solicitor
 
6. CMC: duration about 30 mins. Judge checks if there is a case to be answered before proceeding to tribunal hearing appointment and advises what documents/evidence need to be produced and what format
 
7. Directions are issued by post:
a) Summary of CMC discussions
b) Clarification of necessary evidence and it’s distribution, eg 3 copies for tribunal members, 1 for respondent (landlord) and 1 for yourself
c) Details of how communication must be done before the hearing, eg correspondence to tribunal must be copied to the other party
d) Date set for respondent (landlord) to provide statement of defence (usually about a month after the CMC)
e) Date set for applicant (tenant/s) to respond to landlord’s defence (about a month after (d))
f)      Date set for hearing: about 1 month after (e)
g) Demand for hearing fee of £200 along with confirmation of attendance at hearing is due within 2 weeks
h) Form for agreement to mediation to be returned within 2 weeks. You don’t need to mediate and you are not disadvantaged if you don’t. So you only need to tick the box that says you don't want to mediate.
 
8. Return to tribunal by post: cheque for £200, agreement/non-agreement to mediate form completed, attendance at hearing form completed
 
9. You receive a bundle of papers from the respondent on date set at 7 (d) above which you can assess and prepare your response to
 
10. You send your response to the respondents defence by the date set at 7 (e). You may add other evidence at this stage including sworn statements. Witness statements must have numbered paragraphs with a statement of truth and the signature of the witness. 5 copies: 1 for yourself (for hearing), 3 for the tribunal & 1 for the respondent
 
11. Attend hearing at date set in 7 (f). You can expect the hearing to last 3-5 hours. They usually start at 10, break for lunch and reconvene after, so it takes a good chunk of the day.
You will have to argue your case against the landlord and/or their representative who may be a lawyer or barrister. Three judges will normally preside over proceedings.
If you are claiming harassment as well and have other witnesses who have made statements, they will need to attend the hearing in order to answer questions about their statement
 
12. Judgement will be issued within 6 weeks of the hearing

13. (Unlucky for some) The repondent or applicant may appeal against the judgement. They have 28 days from the judgement to lodge an appeal. If allowed the case may be heard at the Upper Tribunal....

 

If you need help you can email us or ring us: see here.


TIPS:

- Get the application in as soon as possible: you can only apply for rent to be repaid that was paid in the 12 months immediately before the date of your application

- Check who the real landlord of your property is/was. Often agents put themselves as a landlord on a tenancy agreement. Key to deciding who is the landlord is really the "control" of the property: who is managing it and who receives the rent. Even though an agent might be in this position it's worth checking that they haven't covered themselves with a clause on licensing, for example, in their contract with the head landlord
- Judges hate messy paperwork as it wastes time: make sure everything is paginated and indexed properly; bind documents in a lever-arch file with dividers to signpost the content

- Go to a hearing before yours to see how things work: the public are allowed to attend. You can find out about upcoming hearings by checking the schedule at First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) Residential Property, HMCTS, 10 Alfred Place, London, WC1E 7LR tel: 0207 446 7700

- Think carefully about how to present your case. Although you will get a fair hearing, the tribunal has to remain impartial and they cannot make your case for you, so you need to have your arguments ready. Check out especially our pages on case law and RRO history

- Be especially well prepared to defend against claims by the landlord for costs to be offset against the rent paid...see our discussion of this here

- On the day of the hearing, make sure you allow plenty of time for security checks at the entrance to the tribunal building. Allow at least 15 minutes for this.

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