When should tenants report an unlicensed HMO?

When should tenants report an unlicensed HMO?

10:23 AM, 26th April 2021, About 5 months ago 6

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A theoretical question for a hypothetical tenant living in an HMO. Let’s assume the tenancy agreement was for one year, commencing on 1st January 2021 and ending on 31st December 2021.

The landlord’s HMO licence is a five-year licence and expires on 1st July 2021 (midway through the tenancy). I understand this would be an offence (having control of, or managing, an unlicensed house in multiple occupation) under s.72 of the Housing Act 2004.

If the tenants are aware of this, then being good citizens they would be empowered to apply for an RRO or liaise with their local authority to do so.

If the tenants report it to the landlord or the local authority straight away (say, before July 2021), and the landlord reapplies for their licence before 1st July, then no RRO would transpire as there would not have been an actual period of offence.

However, if the tenants delay reporting the offence until after the end of their tenancy, then there would be a period of offence of six months. This would lead to a considerable RRO (six months’ rent).

Surely from a tenant’s perspective, they are predisposed to delay notification of a potential offence for as long as possible, so as to maximise the potential value of the RRO, provided there are no adverse effects of living in an unlicensed HMO that have a material impact on the tenants in the interim.

Food for thought, unless I have misunderstood the concept of RROs?

Dan



Comments

by Neil Patterson

10:27 AM, 26th April 2021, About 5 months ago

Alternatively to be a good citizen the tenant could speak with the landlord and raise any concerns they may have and work together ensuring the supply of safe secure homes.

Obviously we have no reason to suspect the landlord will not renew the licence and I would assume the council will send out a reminder if they are acting in good faith.

by Mark Alexander

12:53 PM, 26th April 2021, About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Neil Patterson at 26/04/2021 - 10:27
Well said Neil.

Maybe I've become more cynical in my old age, but I get the impression that the original poster is secretly hoping the landlord will forget to renew so that he can claim back some of the rent he pays. I hope I am wrong!

by David

12:54 PM, 26th April 2021, About 5 months ago

I think you're basically right that the RRO process creates a perverse incentive for tenants to delay reporting a dangerous HMO for at least the first twelve months

by psquared

16:27 PM, 26th April 2021, About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Neil Patterson at 26/04/2021 - 10:27
and a good landlord would of course have a diary system in place to keep records of all the stuff he has to do!

by Alan Bond

19:11 PM, 26th April 2021, About 5 months ago

If a landlord does not know when their HMO licence expires should they actually be a landlord?

by Prakash Tanna

19:33 PM, 26th April 2021, About 5 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Mark Alexander at 26/04/2021 - 12:53
I hope you are wrong too. For a tenant to continue knowingly reside in unlicensed HMO with the motive of claiming a RRO later on in life is imo disgraceful and should be illegal too. That would be no different to a free loader who wants to exploit the system. The laws are there to protect the tenants and ensure they are not living in squalor or dangerous conditions and being exploited for extortionate rents. Do the right thing, speak to the Landlord, ensure the property is kept to standards and the licence is renewed in time. I can't imagine any sensible landlord allowing the licence to lapse, covid19 aside.


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