What is a Rent Repayment Order?

A Rent Repayment order forces a landlord to refund up to 12 months’ rent.

Rent Repayment Orders are awarded if:

  • The property you are renting does not have a license
  • The landlord has not complied with a council notice
  • The tenant has been harassed or evicted without the correct court paperwork

Why do Rent Repayment Orders exist?

Quite simply, lots of landlords regularly break the law. It is not fair that tenants suffer so that landlords can make a bit more money.

The evidence is very clear, you are up to 60x more likely to die in a property where you can bring a Rent Repayment Order.

Rent Repayments are meant to:

  • Compensate tenants who have been put in a risky situation
  • Remove the extra money made by a landlord who is breaking the law
  • Punish the landlord for breaking the law
  • Deter the landlord from breaking the law again
  • Compensate tenants who have lived with poor conditions and bad property management

Justice For Tenants’ Rent Repayment Order (RRO) Team

Justice For Tenants is widely recognised as the most successful and finest Rent Repayment Order Team. The RRO Team has:

  • Assisted hundreds or thousands of tenants with Rent Repayment Orders every year
  • Paid all Tribunal fees on behalf of all tenants
  • Trained hundreds of government and council staff on Rent Repayment Orders
  • Presented knowledge modules for tenants’ unions and tenant rights organisations
  • Provided training on RROs to the Mayor’s Greater London Assembly team.

It is for this reason that local councils, deposit schemes, The Property Ombudsman, law centres, tenant unions, university law centres and many more organisations refer tenants to Justice For Tenants.

Justice For Tenants has a success rate of above 98%. The average success rate for a tenant without representation or good advice is 21%.

What should I do if I think I can apply for a Rent Repayment Order?

If you think you may be entitled to a Rent Repayment Order and would like 12 months’ rent repaid to you, please contact Justice For Tenants on 020 3476 6648 or use the Contact Form or email info@justicefortenants.org.

The RRO Team will freely share their experience, knowledge and advice to help you bring your Rent Repayment Order. Justice For Tenants can also carry out all aspects of the Rent Repayment Order for you and pay any Tribunal Fees on your behalf.

Detailed information to ensure success and the maximum rent awarded

The Housing Act 2016 entitles an Applicant to apply for a Rent Repayment Order Application if one of the following breaches has occurred:

  • Criminal Law Act 1977 Section 6(1) – using violence to secure entry
  • Protection from Eviction Act 1977 Section 1(2), (3) or (3A) – eviction or harassment of occupiers
  • Housing Act 2004 Section 30(1) - failure to comply with improvement notice
  • Housing Act 2004 Section 32(1) - failure to comply with prohibition order etc
  • Housing Act 2004 Section 72(1) - control or management of unlicensed HMO
  • Housing Act 2004 Section 95(1) - control or management of unlicensed house
  • Housing and Planning Act 2016 Section 21 - breach of banning order

1. The landlord named on the tenancy agreement

  1. If the landlord on the tenancy is a company, you can also use Section 251 of the Housing Act 2004 to include the Directors of the company
  1. The land registry owner – The Upper Tribunal decision of Judge Cooke in Goldsbrough & Swart v CA Property Management LTD & Timothy Gardener & Anor makes it clear that to be named as a Respondent, you simply must be a landlord of a property, not necessarily the direct landlord or the landlord named on the tenancy agreement.
  1. If the land registry owner is a company, you can also use section 251 to name the Director of the company as a Respondent

The above points are particularly relevant if the direct landlord is a Rent-2-Rent company that will likely dissolve before paying any court debt, then just start up again under another name.

The key piece of legislation is Section 263 Housing Act 2004 which states:

Meaning of “person having control” and “person managing” etc.

(1)In this Act “person having control”, in relation to premises, means (unless the context otherwise requires) the person who receives the rack-rent of the premises (whether on his own account or as agent or trustee of another person), or who would so receive it if the premises were let at a rack-rent.

(2)In subsection (1) “rack-rent” means a rent which is not less than two-thirds of the full net annual value of the premises.

(3)In this Act “person managing” means, in relation to premises, the person who, being an owner or lessee of the premises—

(a)receives (whether directly or through an agent or trustee) rents or other payments from—

(i)in the case of a house in multiple occupation, persons who are in occupation as tenants or licensees of parts of the premises; and

(ii)in the case of a house to which Part 3 applies (see section 79(2)), persons who are in occupation as tenants or licensees of parts of the premises, or of the whole of the premises; or

(b)would so receive those rents or other payments but for having entered into an arrangement (whether in pursuance of a court order or otherwise) with another person who is not an owner or lessee of the premises by virtue of which that other person receives the rents or other payments;

and includes, where those rents or other payments are received through another person as agent or trustee, that other person.

If the landlord collected rent directly from the occupants or via a managing agent, then they would be a ‘person managing’.

If there is a lease agreement with the Rent-2-Rent company, then a little research on rental values should evidence that the landlord is receiving the Rack-Rent (which is two thirds or more of the normal rental value of the property). This would make them a ‘person having control’

If the landlord doesn’t disclose whether the property is managed or leased, then 3(b) would apply and they will be a ‘person managing’

1) What costs can the landlord claim for running the property

If this is not itemised in the Respondent’s evidence bundle, then this can be attacked in the response to defence.

The HAPA 2016 does not make clear provisions for deducting the running costs of the property (unlike the Housing Act 2004), therefore pointing out that there appears to be no legislative basis to allow these deductions is very sensible. The relevant part is Section 44.4 of the Housing And Planning Act 2016.

2) Financial circumstances

It is important here to point out the Respondent’s lack of evidence. It is rare the respondent will provide the last 3 years of tax returns, pointing this out will help the Tribunal dismiss any claims of poverty.

It is also helpful to point out the value of the property now compared to the price paid (accessible by the Land Registry Docs) to show that there are significant assets just in that property and then to compare that to the financial circumstances of the Applicants. This can help the Tribunal judge realise that someone who owns at least one rental property cannot reasonably claim poverty by contrasting it with someone who is facing real financial struggles (as tenants generally are not in as good a financial situation as landlords).

3) Conduct of landlord / Conduct of tenant
This speaks for itself; if you have a written (SMS / WhatsApp / Email) trail which good conduct by the tenants and the landlord has conducted themselves poorly, you can use that as justification for the largest RRO award.

4) Health risks

If there is an evidenced lack of fire-safe doors, fire-escape windows, hard wired smoke alarms etc, then it is evidence of a more serious breach as the tenants were put at greater risk.

The same applies to issues with damp and mould that the landlord has left untreated.