A tenant couple have won a £4,680 rent repayment order despite creating mess and a long list of other problems during their five-year tenancy.

The Scargills, who rent a house in Porchester Road, Nottingham, got 60% of their rent back for a 12-month period after a First Tier Property Tribunal ruled that it needed a licence under the council’s selective licensing scheme.

The landlord, Mr Spencer, told the tribunal his carpets had suffered animal damage and that when he inspected the property in June 2020 he was met with abuse and aggression from the tenants.

He then gave them notice to quit. The landlord listed a number of works needed to put the property back to a reasonable condition, including re-laying the back lawn, clearing the site of rubbish, fitting replacement carpets in the rear dining room and landing, and removing an unauthorised structure in the garden.

Selective licensing

The landlord said he had not known about selective licensing, was now unable to work and that his current disposable income was less than £10,000 a year.

The tribunal ruled that he should have been aware of his potential responsibilities but reduced the original £7,800 claim.

The Scargills said they were concerned their home was not insured by the landlord, apparently because he had alleged it was being used for commercial purposes, which they denied.

They also insisted that they had kept the property in good condition and had never received any complaints. They believed Mr Spencer must have known about the licensing scheme as they had received a letter from the local authority in August 2018 about it.

They also complained that he had disregard for carrying out repairs such as a hole in the kitchen ceiling caused by the bath overflow leaking.

Read more about rent repayment orders.

4 COMMENTS

  1. By all means fine the LL – he should’ve known about licensing – but why give the tenants a rent rebate? Were they disadvantaged by the failure of the LL to license the property? Probably not.

  2. You can read further details of this judgement here:

    https://www.gov.uk/residential-property-tribunal-decisions/123-porchester-road-nottingham-ng3-6le-bir-slash-00fy-slash-hmf-slash-2021-slash-0001

    The rent reclaimed was applied for at £7,800 which was reduced 40% to £4,680 on account of the landlord’s financial circumstance.

    To Tricia above: the tenants get a rent rebate when the property is not licensed. This is to punish landlord for not licensing the property (note: a criminal offence). The licence is easy for a good landlord to comply with as it pertains to fire safety, gas, electrics etc. – things a good landlord will already have considered and maintained (out of consideration to the tenants wellbeing, not just to get a licence). The counter question to your is: “why should a landlord make money from a criminally unlicensed property?”.

    To John above: this law is designed to punish landlords who have done bad or criminal actions (apart from unlicensed properties an RRO can also be made for illegal eviction, harassment and others) by taking away the profit they have made from being a bad landlord. Not sure what you think is unjust about it but you can read more detail in the judgement above to gain a more informed view of the case (if you want). I would note this article has supplied you will only the landlord’s side of the story (and implied it was the facts). The applicant’s side can be found in the judgement but includes neglect & disrepair. I note the judgement does not adjust the award on any of these claims so perhaps none of them were judged to have been particularly evidenced or egregious…the landlord is probably actually pretty lucky he didn’t get fined more (due to consideration of his circumstances).

  3. In my previous comment I have been unfair to the article – it does include the tenant’s arguments at the end of the article. Apologies to author for my misreading.

    Alternate headline:
    COURT WATCH: Landlord loses only £4,680 rent despite ‘disregard for carrying out repairs’ (and offence of managing an unlicensed property)

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