Landlord to pay almost £11,000, in rent repayments for breaking licensing rules

Published Thursday, 04 June 2020

A Coventry landlord had been ordered to give back around £10,982.25 in rent that was paid by tenants while the landlord was operating without a licence.

Under the amendments to the Housing Act 2004, introduced in October 2018, all landlords with a property of two storeys or more containing five or more separate tenants have been expected to hold a HMO Licence.

The case is the first of its kind in Coventry. 

Mrs P Nagra, the landlord, has been instructed by the First Tier Property Tribunal to repay rent, that seven tenants applied for as part of a Rent Repayment Order.

Under the legislation, applications for rent repayment orders can be submitted by tenants to the First Tier Property Tribunal (the independent tribunal is responsible for resolving disputes relating to private rented and leasehold property), to claim back any rent paid during the period a landlord manages an unlicensed property.

Coventry City Council Housing Enforcement Officers carried out investigations and found that the landlord had failed to licence the property for a period of eight months and failed in its management of the property.

According to the tribunal the landlord failed to Licence the property in Cannon Park between October 2018 and June 2019.

Councillor Tariq Khan, Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities at Coventry City Council, said: "This is a first Rent Repayment Order for an unlicensed landlord.

“We are working with landlords to raise property standards. The expectation is that both the landlord and the tenant/s play their part in following all correct steps.

“It is not fair for landlords to evade compliance and benefit financially from operating illegally, while the vast majority of landlords are complying.

"This first Rent Repayment Order should serve as a stark warning to the minority of landlords who continue to be unlicensed.

“They face not only prosecution for non-compliance, which if successful will result in a fine and a criminal record, but if convicted, they could also be handed a Rent Repayment Order to hit them in the pocket."

The legislation gives tenants a right to reclaim rent where landlords have significantly failed to comply with housing law and the Council will support them to do this.

A HMO Licence costs £640 and covers the landlord for five years.

Once a license is held it shows tenants and enforcement officers that safety conditions have been applied to the property to current standards and the landlord if following Housing Management Regulations and other Housing legislation, is operating within the law and would not be the subject of a rent repayment.

Rent repayment orders maybe applied for in the following situations -

  • Failure to comply with an Improvement Notice under section 30 of the Housing Act 2004.
  • Failure to comply with a Prohibition Order under section 32 of the Hosing Act 2004.
  • Breach of a banning order made under section 21 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016. 
  • Using violence to secure entry to a property under section 6 of the Criminal Law Act 1977.
  • Illegal eviction or harassment of the occupiers of a property under section 1 of the Protection from Eviction Act 1977.
  • Failure to licence an HMO.

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