Rent repayment order VS Rent Arrears?

by Readers Question

9:50 AM, 30th December 2020
About 3 weeks ago

Rent repayment order VS Rent Arrears?

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Rent repayment order VS Rent Arrears?

I rented my 2-bed property to a company as a corporate let from June 2018 for 18 months fixed with permitted occupier stated as ‘ a client of the tenant or their immediate family’ with a max limit of 5 persons which continued as a periodic tenancy.

The property was vacated in September 2020 after not receiving rent for 2 months. I have requested from the company money outstanding +/-£2.5K as a result of rent arrears, missing items, damaged items, dirty property and removal of tenant belongings.

The Company (director of the company is also the guarantor) refusing to pay as he has no funds and is now counter threatening me with a rent repayment order (RRO)as the property is in an additional licensing scheme which started in April 2019.

The company converted my lounge/dining room into a 3rd bedroom. The local council is not involved although they have issued a written warning that the property has been noted as having multiple tenants.

I would like to know the legal merits of the company’s claim as he says he wants to settle but on his terms. The amount I’m asking for is the rent arrears and make right the damages, but he is disputing the outstanding amount. I am unsure if his claim is justifiable, or he is trying to scare me as I have advised the company, I would go down the small claims court route.

Please could you advise if he did go down RRO when does the possible repayment 12 months start i.e. from the time he makes an application or since April 2019 as well as time limits for him to make an application for RRO?

Please could you advise on my best possible options as well as the company’s legal position?

Smiggle


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Comments

Neil Patterson

9:54 AM, 30th December 2020
About 3 weeks ago

I would start by making contact with specialists in this particular area: Landlord Licencing and Defence.
Please see members profile for Phil Turtle >> https://www.property118.com/member/?id=36518

steve p

13:54 PM, 30th December 2020
About 3 weeks ago

I would have thought if the text says " a client of the tenant or their immediate family" I would have read that as being a single family unit. Could it not be argued if the tenant has people from multiple families in a way that creates an HMO then the tenant would be in breach of contract.

I would contact the council and give the tenancy agreement as proof and say that you believe the tenant was in breach of tenancy agreement but has now moved out. Ask them if there assessment is the same. If it is then the tenant does not have a leg to stand on.

Saying the above however unfortunately and the tenant probably knows this, for the amount you are owed the costs of making a claim and then the costs of defending a counter claim etc and all the stress that entails... In a slightly unrelated case that I took against my former employer at an employment tribunal conciliation session a judge said to me litigation is a gamble. I have always remembered that, so you have to look from a non biased opinion the merits of their counter claim, the cost, the timescale etc and decide if it is worth it, usually it is better to settle if you at all can.

David

17:23 PM, 30th December 2020
About 3 weeks ago

I think that the licence normally has to be obtained by the HMO Manager, which is usually the person or entity who created the HMO. In this case that would be the company - your tenant. You will need proper legal advice on defending this, but I would have thought it would be worth an initial conversation with a housing solicitor.

Phil Turtle, Landlord Licensing & Defence

17:24 PM, 30th December 2020
About 3 weeks ago

Whatever you do, do NOT contact the council. see this article for why https://www.property118.com/dont-talk-to-the-council/

They will only be interested in conning you into self-incriminating and they are only interested in fining you for

a) not having a licence where you are guilty until proven innocent - average fine £12,000.

b) They will then use the HMO management Regulations to hit you with Multiple Civil Penalty Fines in then £10,000s

Please drop us your details via https://landlordsdefence.co.uk/contact so we can help

Chris @ Possession Friend

18:22 PM, 30th December 2020
About 3 weeks ago

Smiggle, - you have a Reasonable excuse - absolute defence.

Tessa Shepperson

20:14 PM, 31st December 2020
About 3 weeks ago

You should get specialist legal advice and, as Phil says, do not speak to the Council until you have done this.

You may want to consider our HMO Hotline telephone advice service here: https://landlordlaw.co.uk/openaccess_content/the-landlord-law-telephone-advice-service/. All panel solicitors are specialists in HMO law.


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