01 Mar 23


Supreme Court Decision
The Question: Can a Rent Repayment Order be made against a Superior Landlord?
The simple answer is the correct answer.
It CANNOT be made against a superior landlord.

The Supreme Court handed down the decision this morning. Quite simply a Rent Repayment Order cannot be made against a Superior Landlord.  That is the correct answer to the question.
It is as Lord Burrows called it: “A Simple Answer”.

Not only did they hand down the decision they supported it with 7 additional facts to support it as they put it. It was a unanimous decision too.

Those seven facts are:
(1) The previous law under the Housing Act 2004. When rent repayment orders were introduced in the Housing Act at Section 73(5) It was clear that the order at that time was not to be made against a superior landlord and only the immediate landlord who at the time could have been prosecuted for a relevant offence at that time.
There is no indication that this was to change by the implementation of the Housing and Planning Act 2016.
(2) The purpose of, or policy behind, rent repayment orders – was to restrict those who benefited from the rent received.
(3) The avoidance of RROs and the importance of other sanctions. There is other legislation to address rogue landlords outside of the rent repayment orders where those landlords are not the immediate landlord.
(4) The practical complexity of RROs against superior landlords. Rent Repayment Orders against a superior landlord would create complexity on what should be paid and who should pay and the amounts to be paid. This was not the intention of the legislation.
(5) Other relevant provisions. The Housing and Planning Act 2016 is supported by other statutory provisions such as the Prevention from Eviction Act 1977.
(6) The pre-legislative materials are consistent that the intention was not for rent repayment orders to be made against superior landlords.
(7) The principle against doubtful penalisation 

Relevant factors to support and are consistent with the Housing and Planning Act Section 40 (2).
It is with absolute joy that this matter can now be settled.
There are many cases with the First-tier Tribunal waiting for the outcome of this decision and clearly many of those can now be moved forward on the basis of the correct Respondent.
Having defended hundreds of landlords against rent repayment orders it is consistent that many misunderstand their guilt and that most of these matters can be settled using professional mediation services of a company that has defended hundreds and hundreds of cases.

In this particular case, it is believed that the immediate landlord had no repairing obligations to this property that it was managed by a large chain managing agent and that when requested to apply for the licence it would appear that was not completed by either party.
Yes, an offence has been committed. The local authority had a duty to determine who committed it at the time and had not done so. 

Therefore, it rested with the judiciary system to decide whether an offence had been committed and to evidence that is “beyond reasonable doubt” in the appeal to the tribunal for a rent repayment order.

What today’s Supreme Court decision confirms is that in this particular case the superior landlord Mr Rakusen is not liable even if he did commit the offence in terms of licensing, he is not liable for a rent repayment order 



There can be more than one culpable party including letting agents in such matters but not for Rent Repayment Orders.

This decision is only in relation to rent repayment orders and not other breaches of the law as the Justices have stated.

Speaking with Ben Beadle of the NRLA about this, this morning this was his comment:

“We, therefore, welcome today’s ruling which accepted many of the arguments made by the NRLA and provides important clarity for landlords and tenants alike.

“The ruling makes clear that it is the responsibility of rent-to-rent companies acting as a landlord to ensure that relevant legal requirements are met since it is they who receive tenants’ rent. It is simply not right that such companies can take money from people without any responsibility for the property they are running.”

All that remains is that we concur with what the NRLA – National Residential Landlords Association states.

If you are a landlord and your tenant has made an application for a rent repayment order you are advised to seek professional advice before doing anything else.

It is essential that the private rented sector has compliant landlords.

Landlord Licensing & Defence works with landlords to have a defence through compliance. They work with Accreditation Schemes, Landlord Associations and other organisations to rid the sector of rogue landlords and to rehabilitate and educate those who may have fallen foul of the law, because they have not kept up with the ever-increasing legislation and regulations.

Des Taylor 


How to Avoid Council Fines & Penalties 

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