Awareness Campaign: Rent Repayment Orders

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Rent Repayment Orders
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Perhaps you have heard of Rent Repayment Orders before. But what are these orders, really? In this article we will discuss what RROs are, how to apply for one and what you need to do to reclaim some of your rent back.

In our awareness campaign series, we have explained property licensing and how it works. We also detailed the benefits of understanding the scheme. In this article, we will discuss Rent Repayment Orders – what they are and how they can help private renters. So if you are living in an unlicensed property with disrepair issues or, worse, a negligent landlord, and think you should be entitled to compensation, this article on Rent Repayment Orders is for you.

What is Rent Repayment Order?

A rent repayment order (or RRO for short) is an order made by a tribunal judge. This order requires the landlord to pay back rent to their tenant.

The reasons for such order may be:

  • If the landlord has rented the property to you without a license, especially if the property requires an additional HMO or mandatory HMO license.
  • If the landlord has harassed or illegally evicted you;
  • If the landlord failed to comply with the Council’s notice, for example, improvement notices or prohibition orders

Read more about the Council orders in one of our previous articles here

If the judge rules that my landlord is guilty of any of the above-mentioned offences, what are the consequences?  

The judge can order your landlord to return your paid rent back to you. This can be no small amount –  the order can oblige your landlord to pay back as much as 12 months’ worth of rent! For example, if you have paid a rent of £1,000 per month to the landlord, the landlord may be required to pay you back as much as £12,000.

What do I need to do to apply for RRO?

First and foremost, check if the property needs a license. You can check this on Southwark Council’s website

You can also use our flowchart to determine what type of license your property needs or if it even needs one at all!

If the property doesn’t have a license you will then need to notify the Council. You can do so via their website

The Council will then write to you to confirm that the property is unlicenced. You will need this confirmation for your Rent Repayment Order claim.

Secondly, you will need to gather evidence for your case. For example, you will need bank statements to prove that you have paid your rent, in full and on time as per your agreement with your landlord.  

You will then need to fill out the RRO1 form which may ask you further information such as your co-tenants names and their contact details. You will need to send the form to the First-Tier Tribunal. They will then contact you to find you other details about your tenure. For example, your relationship with the landlord, any disrepair issues at your home or similar, depending on the reason for your claim.

A more detailed step-by-step guide of the process can be found on GetRentBack website. Don’t worry – the information explains the process really well and uses a jargon-free language.

What do I need to look out for or prepare myself for?

There are couple of things you need to consider before applying:

  • The process may take a long time from start to finish

You will need to gather evidence and fill out forms. Understandably, the court process will also take time; be prepared for it!

  • There are time limits

You should apply for an RRO as soon as possible. This is because the amount you can claim decreases over time. You must make the application within 12 months of the date of the offence committed by the landlord.

  • There are costs

While the rent repayment order is not entirely unaffordable, the application fee currently costs £100 and the hearing fee is £200. The stated fee amounts are valid in year 2023, these may be subject to change in the near future. You can stay up to date on the costs here.

  • It is not guaranteed you will get the maximum 12 months’ rent back

The amount of rent that the court will order your landlord to repay back to you will differ from case to case. This may be the full 12 months but it can also be less. The rent repaid back to you will depend on the severity of your case.

  • You will have to apply for the order yourself

You will need to apply for the RRO yourself.   

Nonetheless, there are some companies that may be able to assist you (read this article further for a list of organizations who might be able to help).   

  • If you are unsure about anything, always seek legal advice

You have probably heard this phrase many times but it rings true every time. A trained solicitor will always be in the best position to explain your options and answer your questions. Seeking legal advice does not necessarily mean you will have to pay for it – there are many organizations locally which offer free advice to Southwark residents.

Some of the organizations which may be able to support you are:

I have never been to a court hearing and have no idea what it entails. Is there a guide which can help me?

While court hearings may sound intimidating at first, there is a plenty of information available in the public domain to prepare you for the hearing. Gov.UK offers useful info on the dress code, hearing procedures and advice on what to bring with you. You can find the guide here.

I want to raise a rent repayment order. Who can help me with this?

Southwark Council works closely with Justice For Tenants. The organization helps private tenants to submit claims for Rent Repayment Orders. You can reach out to the team via their website or email them directly on southwarkrro@justicefortenants.org.

You can also visit Rent Repayment Order. This company offers a no-win-no-fee service for RROs.

I am still a little unsure about Rent Repayment orders. Where can I read a little more about it?

There are multiple useful websites with a wealth of information.

Our favorites are:

We hope you found this article on Rent Repayment Orders helpful. Have a question or feedback about this article? Contact us via our webform and we will get back to you!

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