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Rent repayment orders

This information only applies in England and Wales.

Tenants can make an application for a Rent Repayment Order (RRO) where their landlord has committed an offence during their tenancy. Applications must be made within 12 months of the offence. If successful, the application can result in up to 12 months of rent payments being repaid to the tenant. Read this guide to find out more about making RROs.

A Rent Repayment Order (RRO) entitles tenants to a maximum of 12 months rent repayment if their landlord has committed an offence whilst they are renting the property. For example:

  • your landlord has rented out a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) without a licence

  • your landlord has failed to control or manage an unlicensed HMO  

  • your landlord has failed to comply with enforcement action (eg an improvement notice, prohibition notice, civil penalty or breach of a banning order - for more information, see ‘What are enforcement actions?’ below)

  • you have been evicted illegally or been harassed by your landlord  

  • your landlord has used violence to secure entry to the property 

What are enforcement actions?

Enforcement actions are given by local authorities where they identify a hazard on inspection of a property. Enforcement actions include:

  • Improvement notices - these are orders for the landlord to carry out specified remedial action on the property to reduce hazards to the occupants (eg house fire or collapse).

  • Prohibition notices - these are orders to prevent or limit the occupation of a hazardous property. 

Failure to comply with these notices can result in a civil penalty order, which is a fine of up to £30,000 and potentially a banning order, prohibiting the landlord from renting out the property altogether. 

Can a tenant claim back housing benefit / universal credit through an RRO?

A tenant who receives housing benefit or universal credit cannot claim this money back through an RRO - this will be claimed by their local authority.

An application ​​for an RRO is made to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber). Applications can be made by an occupier of the property or the local housing authority, using Form RRO1.

In order to submit the application, tenants should:

  1. Compile any evidence they wish to include with the application.

  2. Number each page of their evidence.

  3. Attach a list of contents with page numbers.

  4. Print and bind the documents to the application.

  5. Send the bound application and documents by post to the First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) address.

It’s advised that tenants make the RRO application to their local authority as soon as possible, as delay can decrease the amount repayable. The application must be made within 12 months of the landlord’s offence. 

Cost

It typically costs £100 (payable by cheque or bank transfer) to submit an application. Further fees may be payable if a hearing is necessary. Successful applicants can recover their application fees, with applicants being able to request reimbursement of the application and hearing fees in the RRO application form, any further written submissions, and at the hearing. 

Tenants should provide as much relevant evidence as they can to support their application. They must prove that:

  1. The landlord has committed an offence (eg via a signed witness statement or affidavit detailing the offence from each tenant’s perspective). 

  2. They paid rent for the 12 month period they are claiming repayment for (eg with reference to bank statements, a rent book or rent receipts). To do this, tenants could produce a table listing all payments and the dates that they were paid by each tenant, as well as some form of confirmation from the landlord that the rent was up to date (eg via email or text message). 

  3. They legally occupied the property for the designated period with the landlord’s consent (eg via a copy of the tenancy agreement).

What evidence can tenants provide for HMO-related offences?

If the offence relates to an unlicensed HMO, the tenant could obtain a statement from their local authority confirming that the property was without an HMO licence for a certain period.

Further, tenants could include emails confirming that the landlord was aware of the number of tenants due to occupy the property. It may also be beneficial to include evidence that the property required an HMO licence, demonstrating that the property was occupied by at least 3 tenants, forming more than one household and sharing kitchen and/or bathroom facilities. This can be shown using a title plan of the property, obtained from the Land Registry. 

The Property Chamber will acknowledge receipt of the application shortly after receiving it and contact the landlord for a response. They will consider the facts of the case and reach a decision on whether to grant the RRO. They may choose to invite the landlord and tenants to a tribunal to discuss key issues and evidence before reaching a conclusion. The tribunal costs an additional £100.

The property chamber will take into account the following factors when assessing the amount repayable:

  • the conduct of the landlord

  • the conduct of the tenants 

  • financial circumstances of the landlord

  • delay in making the RRO application

  • whether the landlord has been convicted of an offence previously and suffered a financial penalty

For more information, see the government guidance on Rent Repayment Orders.

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