Five tenants have shared a whopping �29,000 Rent Repayment Order after their landlord failed to licence its HMO.
East London-based We Let Rooms Ltd did not defend itself at a First Tier Property Tribunal or come up with a reasonable excuse for the offence relating to the property in Orme Road, Kingston Upon Thames (pictured).
The tenants claimed the firm was slow to respond to issues and would only deal with them superficially, including a leaky roof, leak in the bathroom and ageing cooker.
They were also told by the local housing authority that some of the doors did not meet fire safety standards, and there was no fire separation between the bedrooms and the kitchen.
Although the tribunal found that there was some 'patchy evidence'� of issues relating to fire doors, it said We Let Rooms managed and let out several properties professionally and should be held to a higher standard than someone who simply let out a single property but was otherwise not involved in the property world.
It ruled: 'Even if it could be argued that the applicants did not suffer direct loss through the respondent's failure to obtain a licence, it is clear that a large part of the purpose of the rent repayment legislation is deterrence.
"The respondent's conduct has not been good. In our view, this justifies increasing the repayment award from 70% to 80% of the maximum amount payable," the judge said.
The RRO awards ranged from �4,560 to �7,520, with an order to pay �300 costs.