9:51 AM, 22nd September 2023, About 2 months ago 1
A council has revealed that it will team up with a non-profit organisation to help tenants in the private rented sector claim back up to 12 months’ rent from landlords who break the law.
City of York council says it will work with Justice for Tenants, a group that provides free advice and support for renters who want to apply for a rent repayment order.
A rent repayment order allows tenants to get a refund of their rent if their landlord has committed certain offences – including renting out an unlicensed property, failing to comply with a council notice, or harassing or evicting tenants illegally.
The partnership was discussed at a housing executive decision session this week, where council officers and councillors praised the initiative to improve the quality of private rented accommodation in the city and to protect tenants’ rights.
Anthony Dean, the council’s health and sustainable homes manager, said: “Justice for Tenants will provide an ability for tenants to make a rent repayment order application which often is a timely and costly process for individuals.
“Justice for Tenants provides initially a free service for individuals to get that information support and advice and if they are successful, Justice for Tenants takes a cut of the money that is repaid through the courts’ tribunal process.
“From the local authority’s perspective, it will assist us in terms of identifying properties that are problematic and try to encourage residents who live in poor quality accommodation to make a complaint because they’ll have the financial recompense should they be successful in the application.”
Cllr Michael Pavlovic, executive member for housing, welcomed the new partnership and said it would benefit both tenants and responsible landlords.
He said: “As a ward councillor with a lot of HMOs in my ward, one of the things that we rely on, frankly, are residents to be our eyes and ears effectively.
“To say ‘this family house has now been sold, it seems to now be an HMO, can you investigate?’. But they can’t check whether it’s on a register.”
He added: “I think this is an excellent initiative.
“I think it will be a huge benefit.”
The council will promote the service through its website, social media, newsletters and other channels and says it will continue to enforce the licensing and regulation of privately rented properties in the city.
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