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What is a Rent Repayment Order?

A Rent Repayment Order (RRO) is an order made by the First Tier Tribunal (FTT). An RRO is a means for tenants and former tenants living in the private rented sector to reclaim a maximum of 12 months’ rent paid to a landlord. The Housing and Planning Act 2016 allows a tenant to apply for an RRO if a landlord has committed an offence or if the landlord has been convicted in court. The tenants will have to prove that the landlord has committed an offence or been convicted.
 
Tenants should apply for an RRO as soon as possible as the amount you claim could decrease over time. The application must be made within 12 months of the landlords’ offence. The council will notify you if your landlord has committed an offence or conviction, you can then apply to the FTT for an RRO.

Your landlord has no right to make you leave your home because you are applying for a RRO. The laws protecting your tenancy will still apply and there are extra legal restrictions on evictions by landlords who are running unlicensed accommodation.

Please note that only private tenants and the council can apply for RROs and that this power is not available to council tenants or tenants of housing associations or arms-length management organisations.

The tenant cannot claim rent paid by housing benefit/universal credit, this will be claimed by the local authority.

If a tenant receiving housing benefit/universal credit makes an application for a rent repayment order, the money will be awarded to the council.

When can I apply for a RRO?

You should only apply for an RRO if you can prove that your landlord has failed to comply with the Housing Act 2004 and the Housing and Planning Act 2016:

  • Your landlord has rented a HMO without a licence.
  • Your landlord has failed to control or manage an unlicensed HMO
  • Your landlord has failed to comply with enforcement action:
    • Improvement notice
    • Prohibition notice
    • Civil penalty notice
    • Breach of a banning order
    • You have been evicted illegally or been harassed by your landlord
    • Your landlord has used violence to secure entry to a property

How soon should I apply for an RRO?

The tenant should apply for an RRO as soon as possible as the amount you can claim decreases over time. The application must be made within 12 months of the date of the offence committed by the landlord.

Rent cannot be reclaimed for any period after:

  • the final period of rental payment if the tenant has left;
  • the landlord has sold the house or flat; and
  • the landlord has applied to the council for a licence.

How will the council support me with my application?

The environmental health officer will let you know if you are eligible to apply for an RRO and they will also be able to support your application to the FTT by providing evidence (such as a witness statement), to support your application.

Can one tenant act on behalf of all tenants?

If one tenant is willing to act for all the tenants when applying for the RRO, the other tenants would need to sign a declaration stating the name of the person they are appointing to act on their behalf. Alternatively, the person who acts for the tenant could be a person from the organisations that can help, or a relative or friend of a tenant. The tenant must be able to trust the person they nominate to act on their behalf. 

Which Organisations can help?

The organisations that can help you with the process of applying for an RRO include:

  • Shelter
  • Citizen’s Advice Bureau
  • A Law centre 
  • Our Private Sector housing team and Housing Options team
  • Tenants and Residents Associations or Tenants Federations
  • Other community organisations such as churches, mosques, black and ethnic minority groups or older or disabled peoples’ groups
  • Flat Justice

How much rent can I reclaim?

Tenants can apply to reclaim the rent paid for a period of up to a maximum of twelve months ending on the date of the application to the First-Tier Tribunal (FTT). You can ask to reclaim the rent for the full twelve months if you lived in the HMO and paid rent to the same landlord throughout this period. However, the period for reclaim of the rent will end earlier if you have moved away, if the landlord has changed, or if the landlord has applied to the local council for a licence. You cannot claim any rent paid by housing benefit/universal credit. You will need to be able to prove that you paid the amount of rent you are claiming and who you paid it to.

How do I make a claim?

You can make an application for a Rent Repayment Order to the First-Tier (property) Tribunal. Alternatively, telephone 01243 779 394 or write to, HM Courts & Tribunals Service, First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) Residential Property, Cambridge County Court, 197 East Road, Cambridge. CB1 1BA.

Further guidance on the Rent Repayment process can be found at GOV.UK.

Can my landlord evict me?

Your landlord has no right to make you leave your home because you are applying for a RRO. If your landlord does try to evict you, you should seek legal advice. There are extra restrictions on a landlord's powers to evict when the accommodation is not licensed.

If you have been evicted illegally or been harassed by your landlord, please phone the Housing Options team on 01438 242242 or email using, housing.options@stevenage.gov.uk and they will be able to provide information about your rights as a tenant.

© 2020 Stevenage Borough Council