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Landlord secures huge victory in �18,000 Rent Repayment Order case

rent repayment order

An Upper Tribunal has slashed a landlord's Rent Repayment Order by �16,000 after taking pity during an appeal hearing on her 'precarious financial position'�.

A First Tier Property Tribunal had ordered Renee Daff to pay two tenants �18,000 for failing to licence her flat under Tower Hamlet's selective licensing scheme, but a judge found the first tribunal had labelled her a professional landlord without taking her financial circumstances into account.

Daff rented out the property in Tannery House after becoming seriously ill and returned to her native Australia. After moving back for a while, she rented it out again in 2018 for six months '� unaware of the new licensing scheme '� and then moved back in 2019.

When the former tenants applied for an RRO, she tried to get a licence but was told the property was exempt.

Judge Martin Rodger KC said that although Daff was to blame for not finding out about her licensing obligations, there was no evidence that she had deliberately sought to avoid her responsibilities.

Interest payments

The court heard that although she owns two more flats in the UK and one in Australia, the income was no longer sufficient to service the interest on her portfolio.

The judge ruled: 'While the appellant's property portfolio is not insignificant, she has never sought to make a living from it, and to treat her as if she is running a professional letting business would be unjustified.'�

He added that the circumstances of the case were exceptional as Daff was of limited means, had no earning power, and was in very poor health which had 'contributed to her lack of attentiveness to her licensing obligations'�.

Rodger said: 'She is in a precarious financial position. In my judgment the achievement of the statutory objectives of punishing defaulters and deterring future offences does not require the imposition of disproportionate penalties.'�


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