A landlord has failed to convince a court that stress and financial difficulties excused her from paying a rent repayment order.
Instead, Jaya Sanah's four tenants will share �16,191 after a First Tier Property Tribunal ruled that there was no reason not to licence her four-bedroom HMO which was covered by Hackney Council's additional licensing scheme.
Sanah didn't provide a statement or attend the hearing and tried to adjourn it due to her ill health. This was rejected on the basis that she was only suffering from stress-related issues.
The tenants told the tribunal that neither Sanah nor her agent had given them a Right to Rent Guide, electrical and gas safety certificates, or an EPC. They believed she was a professional landlord as she had boasted to them about looking after several properties. However, despite telling the court she had financial difficulties, Sanah said this information was confidential.
They had paid �2,842 a month rent in full for the two years they lived at the property in Victorian Grove, London, which they voluntarily left in August last year.
The court deducted universal credit payments to one of the tenants, leaving a �26,986 sum from their �34,104 rent repayment order application for the 12-month period.
It ruled: 'The tribunal finds the respondent is or holds herself out to be a professional landlord. As such, the tribunal finds she should be or should have made herself aware of the local authority's licensing requirements as well as the legislative requirements for landlords in the private sector.'�
As the offence wasn't the most serious and was not accompanied by allegations of harassment or attempts at retaliatory eviction, it awarded them 60% of the maximum rent prepayable.