A friend has been in touch with an advice service who have said that it isn’t recommended to apply to court for a Housing-and-Planning-Act-2016 Rent Repayment Order for living in an unlicensed Home-in-Multiple-Occupation (or HMO) without the other occupants on board whose cooperation is necessary “to prove occupancy levels” because “landlords lie all the time and simply their names printed on the lease isn’t enough to prove they lived there”. What legal basis could there be for this advice as surely it must be possible to prove realistically beyond any doubt that the premise was occupied by multiple residents in a wide multitude of ways? For example, group email chains to the various tenants, Screen caps of WhatsApp house group chats between the tenants about house affairs, photos of all of their mail with names and common address printed outside, laid side by side, and so on and so forth.
According to S40 of the decision in LON/00BB/HMF/2020/0211,
However, the Tribunal is only able to make a rent repayment order if satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the offence under section 72(1) had been committed. In that regard the Tribunal accepts the submissions of Ms Cafferkey that, within the period in respect of which the claim has been made within the statement of case, there were a maximum of four tenants, who had provided witness statements. The Tribunal accepts counsel’s submission that it has no evidence as to the relevant status of Yung-Ru Tseng (YT) and could not therefore be satisfied that she met the necessary qualifications to permit the making of a rent repayment order. The Tribunal finds that once the Brazilian family had moved into the property between 25 July 2020 and 1 August 2020, that those conditions were satisfied. However that time period falls outside the applicants’ statement of case. Further and in any event the Tribunal in exercise of its discretion would decline to make a rent repayment order covering only a six day period having regard to the nature of the claim
What is the imolication and relevance of this?