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  • HMO & Multi-Lets

    Tenants win back £15K rent from HMO landlord

    Hi guys, just sharing some news;

    (*Moderator note:  Some text added to give context to link*).

    For the 'Leeds Five' (one housemate decided against involvement in the case), it took council intervention to push them into legal action. A visit from a housing officer in May 2018 revealed their landlord was, in fact, unlawfully renting the property. Which was a problem, as they’d been living there for eight months.

    It transpired their landlord hadn’t acquired a House in Multiple Occupation Licence(HMO). An HMO must be held by any home housing five or more unrelated people who share communal facilities (like a kitchen), with at least one tenant paying rent. An HMO is vital – it confirms the house has the correct safety certificates, that fire alarms are present and working and whoever is in charge of the property is qualified. Tenants can ask their local council to check if the property they’re renting currently holds an HMO.

    As the housing officer explained to the group, this meant the council was pursuing legal action, although this wouldn’t affect their current tenancy (they ended up staying until their contract finished in July 2018). And under the expanded scope of the 2016 Housing and Planning Act, Ben and his other housemates would now be able to start a case too, by applying for a Rent Repayment Order.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree/article/7...596b0efeb1

    The "Leeds Five" got a refund of £15K from their landlord.

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    And when a these tenants jump on the band wagon where are they going to go. As many landlords will just quit.

    It was so wrong yet council said it was ok to stay something wrong there.

    Council pushed the sixth person into claiming.


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    Good for them. The landlord should have abided by the regulations like many of us do. Obviously trying to make as much as possible without the responsibilities that go with it. Hope HMRC are also checking him out now.

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    This feels morally a bit wrong.  From the article....

    "Ben Leonard, 23, was pretty satisfied with the shared house he found himself renting with his partner and four other friends in May last year.

    The place was spacious and comfortable. And, since moving in the previous August, there’d been no mould, no mice and – crucially – no one had returned after Christmas to find the landlord snoozing in their bed (a Boxing Day surprise they’d encountered during a previous tenancy). Monthly rent for the five-bed Leeds property was a relatively reasonable £300 per person – bills included."

    So by all accounts not too bad.

    I agree that a landlord should be fined for non compliance of rules by the council/government but I don't see why tenants should get an unexpected windfall?  Where was their actual loss?

    This then went viral with lots of other people wanting to do the same.

    Meanwhile, my parents in their 70s and a lady who lives on her own a few doors along were recently burgled and the police can't do anything and admitted that they never really catch anyone because they don't have the resources.

    Somebody else I know off commited a serious crime whilst high on drugs and got a £500 fine which will be taken monthly from his universal credit.

    Be warned landlords, we are the cash cows.

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    Rent repayment orders (RROs) are becoming far more common and now apply to a wider range of offences, although RROs for property licensing offences are by far the most common. I recently examined over 20 tenant RRO applications considered by the Tribunal in 2018 of which around 85% were successful. The average award was around £10,000 although they varied considerably and the highest award was over £50,000. I will be attending the Tribunal to represent a landlord in another RRO case later this week.

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    Richard Tacagni MCIEH CEnvH

    Managing Director

    London Property Licensing

    Email: Richard@londonpropertylicensing.co.uk

    www.londonpropertylicensing.co.uk

    This information is intended as general advice and guidance. It is not legal advice and should not be taken or relied upon as such. No liability can be accepted for any reliance on the information published in this response. You may wish to obtain independent legal advice.