A tenant can apply for a rent repayment order if the offence is a “specified offence” under section 40 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016 and where the offence pertains to housing that was let to the tenant at the time of the offence. The offence must have been committed from the 6th April 2017 and within the period of 12 months ending with the day on which the application is made.
WHAT DO I NEED TO SHOW
There are two routes to succeeding with a potential claim for a rent repayment order:
1. Confirmed Legal Evidence of Breach
Here you must be able to establish that your landlord has:
A. Been criminally convicted of the specified offence, or
B. Been fined for breaching the specified offence, or
C. Been served notice for breach of the specified offence and then failed to adhere to the notice in the required time frame and or to the required specifications
2. A Breach Beyond Reasonable Doubt
Here you must develop your own evidence to establish a case of a specific offence against your landlord. Your claim must show, beyond reasonable doubt, that your landlord or his agent has breached a specified offence.
IF YOUR CLIENT HAS BEEN CONVICTED, FINED OR SERVED NOTICE
Then you are likely to already have all the evidence you need to proceed with a maximum claim of 12 months!
HOW TO BUILD A CASE
If you believe that your landlord is acting below his required legal standard and that he is in breach or potentially in breach of a specified offence; then we recommend that you:
Ensure that all your correspondence to the landlord, the agent and the local housing authority is in writing clearly setting out the basis of your complaint: The date the issue commenced, what the issue is, what you have tried to do about it and what the response has been.
Compile evidence, such as photographs, keep all correspondence, record conversations and keep notes of calls you have made.
Where relevant; get witnesses, talk to neighbours, contact the local authority, the police and install CCTV.
Build your case!
WHAT IF I AM IN RECEIPT OF BENEFITS?
If the tenant paid their rent themselves, then the rent must be repaid to the tenant. If rent was paid through Housing Benefit or through the housing element of Universal Credit, then the rent must be repaid to the local housing authority. If the rent was paid partially by the tenant with the remainder paid through Housing Benefit/Universal Credit, then the rent should be repaid on an equivalent basis.