Appeal Successful: confirmation of RRO timing under HaPA 2016

In an appeal brought by Flat Justice on behalf of our client we have now confirmed our arguments for the correction of the RRO1 form at the start of this year. As an appeal case this now acts as an authority for all future Rent Repayment Order (RRO) applications under The Housing and Planning Act 2016 (HaPA).

Readers of our earlier blogs will remember that we were able to have the RRO1 form corrected in January 2019. The RRO1 form is used by Local Authorities (LAs) and private tenants alike across the country to make a RRO application. This form used to say that you could only get rent back in the 12 months before you applied. This was corrected by the HMCTS forms committee after our submissions to the President of the Tribunal, to remove this limitation.

However, there had not been any case law to re-affirm our arguments, until now. Our recent appeal case, decision of 15/5/2019, confirms our interpretation of the HaPA 2016 Basically: there is a “statute of limitations” of 12 months after an offence has ended or you quit your flat. So long as you apply within that limit, you can pick any 12 month period of rent before you left or before the offence ended (e.g. valid application for a licence).

This means that many more people are eligible to make a RRO application and the amounts of rent that can be claimed are greater. In this case the award was doubled.

We summarise this change in the graphic below:

In the extreme, say a Tenant left an unlicensed HMO 364 days ago and applied today, they could then apply for up to 12 months rent that they had paid before leaving.

Here are some key parts of the decision (LON/ooAJ/HMF/2018/0053):

The 12 month “Statute of Limitations”
You can select any 12 month period from before you left or the offence ended

Here are some links to materials related to this Decision:

  • Original Decision at FtT that was overturned
  • Our Appeal request: the appeal was on 2 grounds, the timing issue being one, the other was regarding the landlord’s costs. The latter was not fully accepted, although subsequent decisions have taken on board at least some of our arguments in this respect
  • The appeal Decision