Rent Repayment Orders – what landlords need to know
What is a Rent Repayment Order (RRO)?
The introduction of Rent Repayment Orders under the 2004 Housing Act brought in additional measures to sanction landlords who are letting unlicensed properties. RROs allow tenants and local authorities to submit an application to the First-Tier Tribunal in order to recover rent from a landlord, should this offence have been committed.
Changes to RROs from 6 April 2017
The Housing and Planning Act 2016 has extended the legislation surrounding Rent Repayment Orders, widening the range of offences that could constitute grounds for an order to be made against a landlord. Any offence (or alleged offence) committed on or after 6 April 2017 allows tenants and local authorities to apply to make a Rent Repayment Order.
Offences will include the following:
- Unlawful eviction under the Protection from Eviction Act 1977
- Violent entry under the Criminal Law Act 1977
- Breach of Improvement Orders
- Failure to comply with a Prohibition Order
- Operating an HMO or property without a licence (if the property requires a licence)
What does this mean for landlords?
Either a Tenant or a Local Authority can apply to the First-Tier Tribunal for a RRO.
For a Tenant to apply for an RRO, if the offence relates to housing, the property must have been let to them at the time of the offence. A Tenant can also only reclaim rent that has been paid in the previous 12 months preceding the application to the First-Tier Tribunal.
For a Local Authority to apply for a RRO, the offence must relate to housing in their area, and the Local Authority must first have served an appropriate notice of intended proceedings on the landlord.
The amounts to be paid to either successful local authorities or tenants will depend upon the time frame and type of offence committed. It is noteworthy that if a landlord has actually been convicted of an offence the First-Tier Tribunal must order the maximum penalty.
It is therefore essential that you monitor your residential property portfolios carefully to ensure that you comply with the law otherwise you may face severe financial penalties.