Tenants who rented a flat on a short-let of just three months have been awarded unusual Rent Repayment Orders totalling more than £6,000.

The HMO in Rheidol Terrace, London, was covered by Islington’s additional licencing scheme, but did not have a licence.

The tenants – Edmund Collins, Ralph Chamberlen and James Picton-Turbervill – lived at the property, sharing a kitchen and bathroom from 5th June to 31st August 2021, paying three full months’ rent in advance adding up to £7,725.

A First Tier Property Tribunal rejected landlord Gina Aguda’s excuse that the three men had presented themselves as one household unit.

It ruled: “They are all young men, with different surnames. It could not possibly have been reasonable to suppose that they were members of the same family (or all living together as the same sex equivalent of husband and wife) without any further investigation.”

Mess

Aguda complained about the condition of the flat during the tenancy and said that it had been left in a mess when they left, including burn holes in soft furnishings.

However, the tenants said they had employed a cleaner at the end of the tenancy and that the state of the flat was better than when they moved in.

Understand more about RROs

The single burn hole had been taken into account by the withholding of part of the deposit. Although they had pointed out safety concerns about a balcony, a council inspection had not resulted in enforcement action.

The tribunal ruled there was no evidence of serious disrepair or poor condition in the property and made the repayment orders of £2,060 each, along with £300 costs.

15 COMMENTS

  1. Landlord got what she deserved

    – shows Councils can act when they want to.
    – shows that rogue landlords don’t pay the licence fees
    – shows that decent landlords are penalised by having to fund the licensing scheme

    • There is no evidence this was a rogue landlord. The judgement said “that there was no
      evidence of serious disrepair or poor condition”. There was a failing that the landlord had failed to apply for a license.

      However, there is a problem with licensing system, in that the property could only have been rented to a family and discriminates against groups who rent a single household. It discriminates against single people or those who are groups of friends. It is a win for these tenants, but ultimately landlords will say “no” in future to a group.

      • Incorrect

        Only in Additional Licensing areas wil LL say NO to unrelated groups.

        This idiot LL should surely have bern aware of Additional Licensing requirements.

        Of course Additional Licensing is ridiculous but that is not the point.

        LL should be aware if legal requirements in the areas they have chosen to site their investment properties.

        TS if such Additional Licensing is introduced after LL have chosen to invest in a particular area.

        LL should know that Additional Licensing is always a risk that Councils use to eradicate LL that utilise individual rooms.

        Council want family lettings and use Addditional Licensing to deter unrelated tenancies.

        All part of the campaign to eradicate LL.

    • This is another example of hostilities towards landlords. Irrespective of the rues I think it fails a basic fairness test. Sure, there should have been some form of penalty for breaking the rules but to forfeit the whole lot (particularly as a first offence) and suffer the additional cost of having to rectify the tenants’ damage is unfair by any stretch of the imagination.

  2. What a ridiculous comment “landlord got what she deserved”. Councils’ bloody licencing fees are just another way for them to make money. Real rogue landlords don’t bother with licencing at all and pack four times as many tenants into a property than it should hold. Then they collect the rent with a baseball bat.

    • This landlord did not bother with licensing at all either. The property was unlicensed. That’s a criminal offence (managing a licensable unlicensed HMO).

      The violent/threat conduct you describe (harassment) is also a criminal offence for which a Rent Repayment Order could be brought by tenant against landlord (as well as the unlicensed HMO).

      Landlords do crimes – rent gets re-paid. Don’t be a rogue landlord.

  3. Perspective, according to the government think tank they reckon there’s only 10,000 rouge landlords out of 2,000,000! (0.5%) As most landlords have only one or two properties it’s not easy to forecast that this could happen and have to keep so much paperwork. Alla licencing scheme does is keep track of a landlord. Nothing else and that would have made no difference in this case so it’s hard to see why they should be penalised. If you started to ask about relationships etc you’ll probably end up with harassment claims. I think the public and government expect far too much from what is effectively a cottage industry. Which means it’s maybe time to enforce qualifications on all landlords or use a qualified letting agent

    • What a load of rubbish you talk.
      Only 10000 rogue LL!!!!!???

      Try at least 750000 fraudster LL.
      Most fraud caused by breaching mortgage lender conditions.

      This causes insurance fraud.

      50% of LL are mortgaged with many of them committing mortgage fraud.

      From your Accidental LL letting on a resi mortgage without CTL to LL letting on a FHL basis on BTL mortgages which do NOT permit FHL.

      Fraud is widespread amongst mortgaged LL.

      Mind you I DON’T blame such fraudster LL

      I would be doing exactly the same if I was still in the game

      LL are being forced to adapt due to S24 and S21 abolishment etc.

      The alternative for many is bankruptcy.
      A little bit of fraud is better than the certainty of bankruptcy by complying with mortgage conditions.

      As long as the mortgage is paid most lenders DON’T want to know.

      Of course gaming the system leaves properties effectively uninsured.

      So fraudster LL are taking a big risk.

      THEIR CHOICE!

  4. What sort of investigation or for that matter evidence would be adequate to determine if a a couple, same sex or otherwise, are living together as partners, and that would not amount to harassment or discrimination?

    • The only way would be for an early morning raid to detect if beds are warm!!

      Of course it is crass for anyone to try to assess domestic status of 3 unrelated occupiers.
      Romance can occur and breakups!

      So one day 2 households next day 3 households.
      Next day 2 households next day 3 households.

      Domestic romance can be fraught.
      How will Councils keep up with romantic relationships etc!?

      • Council won’t and don’t care.

        Landlord best get a licence to cover themselves OR signed statement from tenants that they are blood related or in marriage/co-habitation (and to alert LL if it changes).

    • For a couple – it doesn’t matter – 2 occupants won’t hit the person limit for an Additional HMO scheme (generally 3/4, 5 for mandatory).

      This case concerned 3 individuals with different names who were very unlikely to have given the landlord any assurance on their marriage/blood relations (or LL could have used it). LL defence here was to say they “thought they were one household” which is either legal naivete (ignorance not a defence) or absurdity (not a reasonable excuse).

  5. Also I read something recently which said that Ukranian guests of tenants will not convert a house into an HMO in an additional licence area because they are not paying rent. I understood this came from the government.
    Does that mean that a tenant couple can invite a non -rent paying guest into their house and it not become an HMO ?
    Either the UKranian comment is wrong or anyone can get round the HMO by being a guest of the tenant. Does anyone know the answer?

    • Genuine guests do not count for Mandatory HMO licensing purposes.
      So for example a 5 bed house with 4 unrelated occupiers may have a GUEST.
      NO HMO licence required.
      Though Additional Licensing might apply for the existing guest free occupants.

      There are various limitations as regards maintaining GUEST status.

      For one obviously NO registration for ANYTHING at the property address.

      I believe for a GUEST there is a maximum occupancy period of 1 month and no more than 175 days a year.

      But DON’T quote these timescales as I believe they are incorrect.

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