2

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?

3
  • What is an "unlicensed HMO"? I assume you don't mean a health maintenance organization. RRO and HAPA 2016 are defined in the body text, but HMO is not.
    – ohwilleke
    Apr 1, 2022 at 21:57
  • 1
    Houses of multiple occupation since the 2016 HAPA require a license failing which tenants are entitled to an RRO.
    – Timothy
    Apr 2, 2022 at 9:04
  • 1

1 Answer 1

1

You are fine to proceed on the basis you describe - you just need to convince the First Tier Tribunal beyond reasonable doubt that the required (for the property to be licensable) number of people were resident as their main address.

It's better to do with the other occupants because this makes it easier to witness and confirm who was occupant (them and x others) and that it was their main residence (versus visitor or occcasional home). But not impossible without. Your other challenge is if the landlord co-opts one of the others to lie to tribunal and say they didn't really live there (as their main address)...obviously if you can catch them doing this (soliciting false evidence) via double-agent housemate this looks extra bad to FTT.

All the examples you have mentioned are reasonable evidence methods in the absence of occupant witness statements (although you should still try and get as many witness statements as possible from housemates). Also utility bills & voting registrations & council tax records may be useful if attainable (for evidencing (main) occupancy).

Your friend has 12 months to initiate the RRO from when the offence was last being committed against them (ie the last day they were living in the houseand it was unlicensed). It must be brought against the correct respondent (landlord).

Shelter and citizens advice may be able to advise further also non-profit specialists 'Flat Justice' & 'Justice for tenants' are legal experts in this area and can offer advice and representation.

4
  • 2
    Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    May 15, 2022 at 22:53
  • Thanks Chris, not sure why I'm not able to "accept" your answer, but I would if I could. Incidentally, I don't suppose you would have exchanged any emails with my friend on such a matter before? If so, I feel like you're probably not out of bounds to indicate any potentially relevant affiliations, or to specifically cite any potentially relevant precedent rulings if you want to. May 15, 2022 at 22:54
  • Incidentally, apologies on his behalf for any skepticism expressed in correspondence. I've always been confident that your practice if you are who I suspect has always been nothing but the most honourable and scrupulous, and had full confidence in the integrity of any information you've provided. May 15, 2022 at 22:55
  • Yes, citations for your answer would be appreciated. Further, what are the implications of SS40 of the decision in FIRST-TIER TRIBUNAL PROPERTY CHAMBER (RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY) : LON/00BB/HMF/2020/0211? May 17, 2022 at 8:39

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .