Rent Repayment Orders
The Housing Act 2004 introduced RRO to cover situations where a landlord needed to apply for a property licence but failed to do so, RRO have been extended under the Housing and Planning Act 2016 to cover a wider range of breaches.
Rent repayment orders can be applied for when landlords have been convicted of certain offences. These offences include:
- Failure to comply with an Improvement Notice under section 30 of the Housing Act 2004
- Failure to comply with a Prohibition Order under section 32 of the Housing Act 2004
- Breach of a banning order made under section 21 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016
- Using violence to secure entry to a property under section 6 of the Criminal Law Act 1977
- Illegal eviction or harassment of the occupiers of a property under section 1 of the Protection from Eviction Act 1977.
Homes Fitness for Habitation Act 2019
The Act applies to both social and private rented landlords alike and sets out standards that landlords must meet to ensure that all parts of the property they rent out is fit for human habitation.
This means that landlords need to make sure that their property is free from hazards which are so serious that the dwelling is not ‘reasonably suitable’ for occupation.
Using the Act tenants will be able to apply for an order by the court requiring the landlord to remedy the problem, and/or claim damages to compensate them for having to live in a property which was not fit.
The landlord will not be required to remedy unfitness when:
- the problem is caused by tenant behavior
- the problem is caused by events like fires, storms and floods which are completely beyond the landlord’s control (sometimes called ‘acts of God’)
- the problem is caused by the tenants’ own possessions
- the landlord hasn’t been able to get consent e.g. planning permission, permission from freeholders etc. There must be evidence of reasonable efforts to gain permission
- the tenant is not an individual, e.g. local authorities, national parks, housing associations, educational institutions
Pre-action protocol for debt claims
The protocol applies to businesses claiming money from individuals. In this definition a landlord would be considered a business and therefore must follow the protocol before taking legal action to recover money from their tenants for things such as rent arrears. It is essential that a landlord follow this protocol before starting legal proceedings as failing to do so would result in the claim being rejected by the courts.