Rent Repayment Orders, limitation and award periods.

This is worth a quick note from some comments and questions I have received after this post on a Rent Repayment Order (RRO). The issue is about the meaning of the requirement that an application for an RRO is brought within 12 months of a relevant offence.

In that previous post, the First Tier Tribunal decision reported was actually from January 2019. It turns out that the FTT had, in both the wording of the RRO application form and in its decisions, convinced itself that section 41(2)(b) of the Housing and Planning Act 2016 meant that the Tribunal only had the power to make an award of an RRO in respect of the 12 months prior to the application being made. Hence the restriction in that previous decision to a period of 12 months prior to the 2 October 2018 application, losing some three months of the tenancy period.

Thankfully, Flat Justice CIC challenged this on an FTT decision where they were assisting the applicant. The FTT reviewed its own decision and in 34 Sarsfield Road, Perivale, Greenford, Middx UB6 7AE LON/00AJ/HMF/2018/0053 of 15 May 2019, corrected the position.

The correct interpretation of Housing and Planning Act 2016 RRO provisions is that:

i) The application must be brought within 12 months of a relevant offence.

ii) The RRO can then be made in respect of a period of up to 12 months either ending with the date of the offence (for illegal eviction or violence for securing entry), or up to 12 months when the offence was being committed (failure to licence, failure to comply with improvement or prohibition notice), as per s.44(2) and s.40 Housing and Planning Act 2016.

So, although the maximum RRO award cannot exceed 12 months rent, that is distinct from the 12 month period after the offence within which an application can be brought.

It is a good thing that the FTT was sorted out on this, as its own forms and guidance were misleading people, and decisions clearly wrongly made.

About Giles Peaker

Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts, and still is Nearly Legal on Google +.
Posted in Assured Shorthold tenancy, Housing law - All, Licences and occupiers, Regulation and planning and tagged .

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