Rent Repayment Orders
Rent Repayment Orders
A Rent Repayment Order (RRO) is an order for the landlord to pay back either rent or housing benefit where the landlord has been operating without a license.
The council can claim back up to 12 month’s worth of housing benefit, whilst the tenant can claim 12 month’s rent once the landlord has been prosecuted by the council.
A power shift
Since 2018, the balance of power is now firmly back with tenants.
A tenant can now claim back up to 12 month’s rent where the landlord has:
- • Violently entered the property
- • Unlawfully evicted a tenant
- • Harassed a tenant
- • Failed to adhere to an improvement notice
- • Managed an unlicensed property
- • Breached a banning order
RRO applications are made via the First Tier Tribunal which means the process is much more efficient than going through a court.
The goal of an RRO is to secure the tenant enough money to relocate whilst suitably punishing the landlord. For a council claiming back housing benefit, it allows them to use the money for other law enforcement purposes or to fund other landlord and tentant law.
If s council is applying for an RRO they first have to notify the landlord, which gives them 28 to form a defence. During this time the landlord has time to respond before the council can move forward with the application.
Where a tenant applies for an RRO, there is no requirement to notify the landlord. It is worth noting that both councils and tenants have to make their applications within 12 months of the offence.
The two types of Rent Repayment Order
RROs come in two forms: the RRO 1 and the RRO 2. RRO 1 is for cases post April 6th 2018, whilst RRO 2 is for cases before that. Thankfully, the RRO 1 form is fairly straightforward, especially compared to the N5B that a landlord has to use to apply for accelerated possession.
Section 49 of the Housing and Planning Act gives councils the ability to assist tenants to apply for Rent Repayment Orders.
Section 48 places a duty on a local authority to consider making an RRO which means not only are they an option, but the government are actively encouraging them to be used.
When a Rent Repayment Order is granted then any funds can be recovered under standard county court enforcement procedures.
The advantages of Rent Repayment Orders
Unlike other forms of landlord enforcement, RROs have become somewhat of a secret weapon against rogue landlords given the lack of bureaucracy. They are quick, inexpensive and potentially massively rewarding for a tenant. They also ensure offending landlords have a genuine deterrent from acting unlawfully.
Aside from the 28 day warning period, the process for councils is equally as straightforward.
On the flipside, the FTT have been inconsistent with their decisions, with some discounting the landlord’s mortgage payments before deciding on a settlement. Despite this, the process continues to become used even more widely with advocacy growing amongst advisory services.
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