A rogue tenant who duped her landlords by sub-letting their property was rumbled after she tried to claim a Rent Repayment Order on two homes simultaneously.
Vanessa Breuer had purported to be a tenant in a home at Wheat Sheaf Close in London’s Canary Wharf (pictured), owned by Christiern Dart and Katherine Richardson.
She told their letting agent that she was living with her family but then came forward to say it wasn’t actually one household and that her fiancé was her employer.
“The landlords didn’t want to be in breach of the regulations so immediately applied for an HMO licence,” Ian Norman, a partner at Lightfoots Solicitors, tells LandlordZONE.
During Covid, she had re-negotiated the rent after falling behind with payments, then as the landlords started proceedings to gain possession of the property it transpired she had been subletting it and operating an HMO.
“We believe that’s why she was so concerned about getting a licence, as she would have been found to have been operating it illegally,” says Norman. “She was profiting from the rent reduction and illegally sub-letting.”
Breuer applied for an RRO on this property for the short period it had been unlicensed but also applied for an RRO on another property, where the dates of occupancy overlapped, and had indicated that she was the tenant of both.
Challenged by a First Tier Property Tribunal, she withdrew the application. “She could have been making multiple applications – we still don’t know where she was living,” adds Norman (pictured).
Breuer was ordered to pay costs of £1,942 by the tribunal, which ruled: “It is clear to us that the applicant set about potentially unlawfully occupying the property and making an application for an RRO when it would seem she did, or should have known that such an application was, at best misconceived.”
It is not known whether the other landlord involved will pursue the case through the criminal court.