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Soaring Rent Repayment Orders and fines for landlords in two months

Fines for landlords and lettings agents in Greater London have soared from just £22,000 in May to a huge £139,146 in July.

Part of that may be accounted for by the increase in court hearings as a result of the pandemic easing, but PropTech firm Kamma - which has produced the figures - says it’s also down to local authorities deploying Rent Repayment Orders and other penalties with more vengeance than before.

Kamma has analysed the Mayor of London’s Rogue Landlord and Letting Agent Checker and says that since the device was introduced in 2018 some £6.5m in penalties have been applied to agents and landlords. 

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The largest single fines ever recorded are £100,000 for a landlord and £167,000 for a letting agent respectively.

Councils have been under pressure throughout the pandemic with budgets under strain and housing conditions under the spotlight. 

Kamma chief executive Orla Shields says: “Whilst the pandemic seems to have reduced enforcement levels, it did not slow the level of regulation which is higher now than at any time before. With a complex web of regulations now governing the sector and growing levels of enforcement, it is business critical that both agents and their landlords stay on top of compliance requirements”.

 

Tower Hamlets council alone has issued almost 70 RROs with the total amount of reclaimed rent at £200,000. 

Shields continues: “As the NRLA has recently pointed out, it’s right that councils enforce their own regulations, which otherwise would be a tax on good landlords, with rogue individuals continuing as before. The danger is that good landlords and letting agents offering high quality homes to market could still get caught out by a change in regulation. With tenants acting as enforcers, agents and landlords have to stay one step ahead.”

Want to comment on this story? If so...if any post is considered to victimise, harass, degrade or intimidate an individual or group of individuals on any basis, then the post may be deleted and the individual immediately banned from posting in future.

  • Mohammad Kamran  Iqbal

    When will Council support landlords and agents to prosecute rogue tenants who are in severe rent arrears and refuse pay?

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    Never, you’ll have seen the Article on Tuesday where they were going out of their way to support Tenants who caused ASB continuously to neighbours, LL got extra fine for this but no consequence for Tenant, of course not the Council don’t want them do they ?.

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    My tenant is preventing my visit to the property, previously due to pandemic and now he is stating there is no need to visit as everything is ok with the property. The six months notice of repossession expired nearly five months ago. He said he would leave when he finds a property. I do not know if he has something to hide.
    His rent is being paid at a local housing allowance rate by the local authority.

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    Sounds like he is a tenant that no other landlord will touch, bailiffs the only way now, he'll be homeless for the winter.

     
    John  Adams

    You've got trouble on your hands there.

     
  • John  Adams

    A novelty will be when tenants manage to enforce these Repayment orders against the numerous Councils and Housing Associations properties that are often in a very poor bad state of repair...

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    Now that would be amusing, and justly deserved .

     
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    In all the years of being a landlady I have found the government/councils to ONLY have changed regulations to support the rights of the tenants.

    It appears that all landlords have simply been tarnished with the same brush as “wealthy rogues landlords”, and so many tenants have used this to their advantage and manipulated the system in their favour to get away with defaulting on rent and destroying properties- all at the expense of the landlords. Not all landlords are rogues - some of us are sincere hardworking individuals and we require new government/council regulations to protect us from being taken for granted by some these tenants that abuse the system!

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    What sticks in my mind about Rent Re-payment Orders, when I asked a question at a Council / Landlord meeting when there were thousands present. When the Council takes action to take back a years Rent, supposing LL has already paid income tax on it what happened to that, Oh ! we keep that as well, no more questions I say we know its a stitch up and total dishonesty.
    This guy from other side of the Severn and head of one of London Biggest Boroughs.
    We are required to be a fit & proper persons and also the most appropriate person, it’s a shame it doesn’t apply to Council Bosses.

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    You can read the reports on the website of rent repayment orders. Most are landlords who did not realise they had to be licensed. In one the council incited the tenants to claim a rent repayment order and it turned out the landlord did not need to be licensed.

    The amount awarded is very harsh just for overlooking being licensed especially when licensing saying serves no purpose at all

    Unfortunately council's and social landlords are exempt rent repayment orders.

    As for Rogue landlords if you go into the detail of the reports where disrepair is alleged most of the damage is caused by the tenants and the landlord has been slow to do the repairs. I can find very few cases where the landlord is what most people would consider a crook or a rogue. Most of the faults are of a technical nature or minor repairs.

    The system of of rent repayment orders and civil penalties would be far better replaced with the council doing the works and charging the landlord if the landlord doesn't do the work in time. This is the system that applies in many American states.
    Jim Haliburton
    The HMO Daddy

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    RRO are just going to drive more LLs out of the sector. Then rents will go up and there will be more tenants chasing fewer properties.

    We are about to enter a housing crisis and the powers that be and the tenant favouring lobbyists are in a dreamworld!

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    Jim. I know you right I have said this many times in the past but Council are not interested in that, they just want the LL’s money in their own pockets for free, how does this improve housing stock raiding the finances.

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    I don't disagree Michael that unfortunately some councils are looking upon civil penalties as a way of raising money. Possibly away to put a stop to this is for all landlords who receive a Civil penalty to vigourously defend any claim as it usually costs the council more to enforce a defended claim that they will receive in a civil penalty. However, the same applies to landlords, not only do they lose the early payment discount but it usually costs more to defend a civil penalty if you pay a lawyer to represent you.

    Would it be too much to expect our landlords associations to provide advocates to provide a robust defence for landlords similar to what trade unions do for their members instead of the half-hearted telephone advice they now provide for members?

    What can be done about rent repayment orders I am not sure. If you don't license you lose your rent, the tribunal's are exceedingly harsh in applying repayment orders. Often the only crime is that the landlord did not understand they had to be licensed.

    I totally agree landlords are being obscenely victimised when you compare the level of fines imposed on landlords with driving. landlords are paying well over 50 times in civil penalties compared to say parking, speeding or driving in a bus lane for technical breaches which rarely harm anyone yet we kill and seriously injure over 30,000 people on the roads every year. I struggle to find any figures showing deaths or injury due to landlord neglect.

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    Jim, very well put but I wished I had your confidence in the Justice system when there’s a clear conflict of interest. I have seen cases where the fines are split 3 ways between the Authorities 12.5%, 37.5% and 50% so they all have an interest in fining you ever more how can that be justice when they are all in it together.
    Regarding repayment Orders it’s the lowest of the low, they occupy a persons property use all its facilities for a year, having had all this benefit then turn around and take the money back, if they are that smart why didn’t they check the property had a license if it required one before moving in, if they didn’t it is down to them whether it be the Council or the Tenants they accepted the let then cry wolf afterwords. They are breaking the back bone of the industry, is there no other business left to attack, everything points to a big collapse sad to say, they’ll be looking at their screens when they are gone blank.

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