What is a Rent Repayment Order?
A rent repayment order (RRO) is an order of a Tribunal which requires repayment of rent (or housing benefit or housing costs element of universal credit) paid in respect of a tenancy or licence, by a landlord/agent who has committed a particular offence listed in the legislation.
There are sometimes defences available to applications for Rent Repayment Orders where the alleged offence was perhaps not committed, or to where the amount of rent repayment being claimed is disputed.
The offences are:
- using or threatening violence for securing entry into premises, under s.6 Criminal Law Act 1977
- illegal eviction or harassment, under s.1 Protection from Eviction Act 1977
- failure to comply with improvement notice, under s.30 Housing Act 2004
- failure to comply with prohibition order, under s.32 Housing Act 2004
- breach of banning order, under s.21 Housing and Planning Act 2016
- having control of, or managing, an unlicensed property, under s.95 Housing Act 2004 (as amended by para 4 Sch. 9 Housing and Planning Act 2016)
- having control of, or managing, an unlicensed house in multiple occupation (HMO) under s.72 Housing Act 2004.
Either a tenant or local authority can apply to the Tribunal for a rent repayment order.
The Firs-tier Tribunal must be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt (the criminal standard of proof) that the landlord has committed the offence. It is not necessary that the landlord/agent has been convicted of the offence.
The amount of an RRO must relate to rent or benefits paid in respect of a period not exceeding 12 months during which the landlord was committing the offence or, if the offence was harassment, illegal eviction or violence for securing entry into premises, 12 months ending with the date of the offence. This means that the landlord will not be required to repay more than 12 months’ rent paid by a tenant or authority.
In deciding the amount, the First-tier Tribunal must take into account:
- the conduct of the landlord
- the financial circumstances of the landlord, and
- whether or not the landlord has actually been convicted of a relevant offence or has received a financial penalty.
In addition, where the application is made by the occupier the Tribunal must:
- take into account the conduct of the occupier
- deduct any housing benefit or universal credit paid in respect of rent.
The amount owed under an RRO is enforceable as if it were a debt in the county court.
An appeal against an RRO is made to the Upper Tribunal.
Although RRO’s are made based on a criminal offence having been committed, RRO’s do not result in a criminal record for the landlord, as the application for an RRO is in fact a civil claim.
Our experts can assist you if you have had an application for an RRO brought against you.