Mishcon de Reya has acted pro bono on a Court of Appeal case that clarifies the application of rent repayment orders. The orders allow tenants to reclaim rent paid to rogue landlords and property agents in England.
Rent repayment orders were introduced in 2004 to penalise landlords who breach the houses in multiple occupation licensing regime. In 2016, the regulations were broadened to target unlawful and illegal behaviour by all types of landlords and property agents. The orders force landlords to refund up to 12 months of rent and are most commonly used when landlords rent properties without a licence, don’t comply with council notices, harass tenants or evict them without the proper paperwork.
In the case in question, Mishcon de Reya represented tenants Marek and Kahori Kowalek against landlord Hassanein Limited.
Although the tenants did not win, today's ruling still provides useful clarity regarding the basis on which rent repayment orders are to be calculated.
Tania Whiteford, an associate in Mishcon de Reya's Property Litigation team, said: “The Court of Appeal confirmed that a tenant’s failure to pay rent is ‘conduct’ which can be taken into account when assessing the value of such an order. It also clarified that the maximum amount of a rent repayment order must be determined without regard to rent which, while it may discharge indebtedness which arose during a period that a landlord was committing a breach, was not paid in that period.”
Partner Mark Reading said: “The Court of Appeal also provided useful practical guidance to parties dealing with such an order.”
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