Rent Repayment Decision

With regard to Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs), and in general terms, a landlord of such a property must obtain a licence from the local authority; it is an offence (subject to a defence of reasonable excuse) for a person to operate or manage a property which requires a licence but does not have one. Where the First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) is satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that a landlord has committed an offence it may require the landlord to repay some or all of the rent to the tenant.

In the case of Moreira and others v Morrison and another [2023] UKUT 233 (LC) three of five tenants made claim for rent repayment in relation to an HMO which required, but did not have, a licence. They applied to the FTT for rent repayment orders. They argued that the FTT should award them 100% of the total rent that all five tenants had paid, on the basis that they were each jointly and severally liable for the whole rent. The FTT rejected that argument and instead awarded each of the applicants 100% of their individually paid contributions to the rent.

The tenants appealed, asking for 100% of rent paid to all 5 tenants. The Upper Tribunal dismissed an appeal. A rent repayment order could not exceed the total amount which each applicant had paid.

Oliver Kew

Published on 12/10/2023

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