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What is a rent repayment order and can I defend it?

View profile for Chloe Parish
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What is a rent repayment order and can I defend it?

A rent repayment order (known as an ‘RRO’) is an order made by the first-tier tribunal requiring a landlord to repay a specified amount of rent. An application for an RRO can be made by either the council or the tenants of the relevant property.

Why have I received an application for a rent repayment order?

Your tenant(s) or the council will have made an application for an RRO because they consider that you have committed an offence. They can make their application for the RRO even if you have not been prosecuted for the offence.

The person applying for the RRO must be able to demonstrate that the landlord has committed one or more of the following offences:

  • Failure to obtain the required licence for the property
  • Failure to comply with the housing management regulations
  • Failure to comply with an improvement notice
  • Failure to comply with a prohibition order
  • Breach of a banning order
  • Using violence to secure entry to a property
  • Illegal eviction or harassment of the occupiers

It is often the case that tenants make an application for an RRO because they consider that their landlord has failed to obtain the relevant licence for the property (for example, a HMO licence) or/and have failed to comply with the housing management regulations.

How much rent can be recovered?

Tenants/local authorities can reclaim a maximum of 12 months’ rent. Once an order requiring rent to be repaid is made, the landlord will be required to make the payment within 28 days. For some landlords, this will be a substantial amount of money.

If you have been notified of an application for a rent repayment order and you are concerned about the level of rent that the applicant is trying to reclaim, it is extremely important that you seek advice at the earliest opportunity to ensure that you protect your position.

Can I defend a rent repayment order?

Any application for a rent repayment order will be considered by the first-tier tribunal. If you have been convicted of the offence already, the Tribunal must order that the maximum amount of rent is repaid.

If you have not been convicted of the offence that the application relates to, the tribunal will have discretion as to whether to make an order and the amount of rent that you, as the landlord, has to repay. You will therefore have the opportunity to:

  1. Demonstrate that you have not committed the offence alleged; or/and
  2. Put forward mitigation to reduce the amount of rent to be repaid.

If you would like advice on your legal position in relation to the rent repayment order, it is important that you seek specialist advice as soon as possible. Rent repayment order applications are often dealt with swiftly by the tribunal. Once an application has been received, the date of the hearing will be arranged and you will have various deadlines to comply with. Our specialist regulatory lawyers can advise you on the correct approach to take to protect your interests, and assist you in dealing with the tribunal proceedings.

For a confidential no obligation discussion with a member of our team, please contact us on 0161 696 6229 or complete our online enquiry form.