Rent Repayment Orders FAQ

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Over 70% of all RROs brought by tenants without representation fail. Justice For Tenants is a non-profit tenant advice service that carries out Rent Repayment Orders. If you are applying yourself, please read the following information carefully.

If you have any questions, please call on 020 3476 6648. If you are a housing officer, please see this page

The reasons why most RROs by tenants fail

Unfortunately, over 70% of RROs brought by tenants without representation fail. Here are the most common reasons:

  1. Incorrect Grounds on the Application Form
  2. Failure to comply with Tribunal Directions
  3. Legal Fees are becoming too expensive (it will normally cost about £8,000 for a High-street solicitor to do all aspects of an RRO)
  4. The landlord had applied for a license, it just isn’t reflected on the councils register
  5. The landlord hires aggressive solicitor when they realise the tenant doesn’t have representation

What form do I use?

Use the RRO1 form found here

What legislative grounds is the application brought under?

The legislative basis for the RRO application is different for each breach. You have to mention which section of the Housing And Planning Act 2016 allows you to bring the RRO, as well as mentioning which section of the Housing Act 2004 has been breached.

If the breach is your property not being licensed, you will need to refer to different bits of legislation depending on whether your landlord should have had a Mandatory HMO license, additional license, or a selective license.

Who to bring action against?

It can be very complicated to work out who is the responsible party to bring action against. Land Registry documents can be helpful, and you can often convince the Tribunal to allow you to name more than one person / company as the responsible party.

How to deal with Tribunal Directions

Unfortunately, the Tribunal is often very tight with it’s time-frames, this is the downside of the process being quicker than court. Sometimes the FTT (First-Tier Tribunal) only gives 4 days to comply with it’s directions. If you are going to be unable to comply in time, it is sensible to write to the Tribunal at the first available opportunity explaining why you will be late in complying with the direction (with supporting evidence) and request an extension.

Other things you can request?

You can ask for mediation or a written determination.

Mediation can be nerve-racking without a representative but may create a favourable result for both parties.

If you are scared about appearing at a hearing, especially if the landlord has hired a barrister and/or a solicitor, you can request a written determination. The landlord may object to this, but if they don’t object you never need to go to Tribunal.

Receiving the Respondent’s Evidence Bundle

Often the other party doesn’t provide the evidence bundle on time. It is important to chase the Tribunal with this. If the landlord doesn’t provide their Evidence bundle, and you have been chasing, the Tribunal will often bar the landlord from the proceedings.

Your evidence Bundle

This should consist of 4 elements

  1. Legal basis for the application.
  2. Expanded reasons for the breach. This should explain why it is believed to be the appropriate course of action to apply for an RRO, and what made you aware of this breach.
  3. Response to the defence and evidence of your good conduct and the landlord’s bad conduct
  4. Supporting documents

Evidence Bundles can seem overwhelming the first few times you do them. So don’t worry if you feel like it is too much to take on, many people feel that way.

What affects Quantum (the amount awarded)

1) What costs can the landlord claim for running the property

If this is not itemised in the Respondent’s evidence bundle, then this must be strongly attacked in the response to defence.

The HAPA 2016 does not make clear provisions for deducting the running costs of the property (unlike the Housing Act 2004), therefore pointing out that there appears to be no legislative basis to allow these deductions is very sensible. The relevant part is Section 44.4 of the Housing And Planning Act 2016.

Please note, JFT will be appealing to the Upper Tribunal to clarify this point and hopefully provide a clear framework for valuation of RRO Application by setting a case precedent, which will be the first precedent made under the HAPA 2016 legislation.

2) Financial circumstances

It is important here to point out the Respondent’s lack of evidence. It is rare the respondent will provide the last 3 years of tax returns, pointing this out will help the Tribunal dismiss any claims of poverty.

It is also helpful to point out the value of the property now compared to the price paid (accessible by the Land Registry Docs) to show that there is significant assets just in that property and then to compare that to your financial. This can help the Tribunal judge realise that someone who owns at least one rental property cannot reasonably claim poverty by contrasting it with someone who is facing real financial struggles (as tenants generally are not in as good a financial situation as landlords).

3) Conduct of landlord / Conduct of tenant

This speaks for itself; if you have a written (SMS / WhatsApp / Email) trail which shows with that you have been a good tenant and the landlord has conducted themselves poorly, you can use that as justification for the largest RRO award.

The Hearing

At the hearing, both parties and their representatives will be given an opportunity to put forward their arguments in front of 2 or 3 Tribunal judges, as well as cross-examine anyone who has given a witness statement. It usually takes about 3 hours.

General Thoughts

If you do not have any legal background or experience, you may be better off with Justice For Tenants representing you as JFT has assisted hundreds of tenants on a No Win, No Fee basis.