17 Mar 2021

In a landmark decision, the Upper Tribunal (Lands) has confirmed that the judgement of the First Tier Tribunal that “Rent Arrears must be accounted for BEFORE rent is eligible to be reclaimed under a Rent Repayment Order (RRO).”

This Judgement of the First-Tier Tribunal (in a case defended by Des Taylor of Landlord Licensing & Defence), and now upheld by the Upper Tribunal, means that no-win/no-fee becomes almost worthless for the lawyers, and far fewer Rent Repayment Orders (RRO) should be brought against landlords in the future. 

The Hastings law firm representing the rogue tenant would have expected 30-50% of the £7,184 amount. Let’s say £2,200 to £3,600.

After Des Taylor’s defence of the landlord against this malicious claim, the First Tier Tribunal made just a token Rent Repayment Order award, and so the no-win/why-bother lawyers stand to make just £250 to £420.  In context, that’s 1-2 hours fee for 2-3 days’ work. Not exactly good business – especially as they have now spent considerable extra time and effort taking the case to the Upper Tribunal, only to have the original decision against their Rogue Tenant client upheld!

Thanks to Landlord Licensing & Defence’ ground-breaking win at the First-Tier Tribunal (Housing), the Rent Repayment Order Magic Money Tree so loved by Rogue Tenants is pretty much dead!

Des Taylor a director of Landlord Licensing & Defence, was able to persuade the First Tier Tribunal that the tenant making the no-win/no-fee Rent Repayment Order claim was a serial non-payer of rent, and had illegally taken in multiple lodgers whilst sometimes claiming universal credit.

Said Des Taylor, “It is ridiculous that a Rogue Tenant can attempt to claim over £7,000 in rent repayment order fees which the landlord will be directed to pay to the tenant in cash when the tenant owes the landlord £16,000 in unpaid rent.”

The Upper Tribunal not only decided that the First Tier Tribunal decision must stand, it also ordered that the Landlord did not have to pay the small Rent Repayment Order that had been awarded, instead the Judge directed that the RRO would merely be deducted from the rent arrears.  

As Upper Tier Tribunal Judge Elizabeth Cooke stated in her Appeal Decision, “it would offend any sense of justice for a tenant to be in persistent arrears of rent over an extended period and then to choose the one period where she did make some regular payments – albeit never actually clearing the arrears – and be awarded a repayment of all or most of what she paid in that period. That default, together with the respondent’s kindness and the respondent’s financial circumstances, led the FTT to make a 75% reduction in the maximum amount payable, and I see no reason to characterise any of those considerations as irrelevant or the decision as falling outside the range of reasonable orders that the FTT could have made.” 

She concluded: “The appeal fails and the order of the FTT stands.”

Of course the Landlord is now free to pursue the tenant through the courts for the rent arrears and a CCJ!

You can read the full article on the First Tier tribunal case won by Landlord Licensing & Defence for the Landlord in August 2020 here: 

If you are facing a Rent Repayment order from your tenants or the council contact Landlord Licensing & Defence urgently for professional representation 

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