This application (Coxswain v James CHI/00HB/HMB/2020/0006) seemed to throw the book at the Respondent:
- Illegal Eviction
- Failure to comply with Improvement Notice
- Not supplying a Gas Safety Certificate (GSC)
- Not protecting a deposit…
And after 2 Case Management Conferences (CMCs), an extended hearing, 34 pages of very careful and deliberate consideration in the judgment… a beautiful new baby was born: the first Rent Repayment Order (RRO) for an illegal eviction. £1,560. At least we haven’t seen any others.
Actually, there were twins: the judgment gives a perfectly logical explanation of why rent arrears should not be taken into consideration in making a RRO award. Exactly as we have argued in a case we are currently seeking to appeal at the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) (UT). As Judge Dobson rightly argues in this case: to reduce a RRO award for rent arrears doubly penalises a tenant:
The deliberations in the judgment are a masterpiece in how Tribunals should be assessing these cases, taking into consideration the recent decisions of the UT in Vadamalayan (see our discussion here) and Chan as well as the intended purposes of the Act when first considered in Parliament.
Now, say you had an illegal eviction, harassment and a licensing offence made out: would that be one RRO or three? Watch this space…
Sorry Guy, Safer Renting’s Sarah Collins got 2 illegal eviction RROs early last year. Both tenants of individual rooms illegally evicted at the same time but that decision there is a revelation. We have always gone on the basis only of rent paid, as I would imagine many have also done
Does ‘illegal eviction’ have to be an actual eviction, or an illegally threatened eviction?
Or is an illegally-threatened eviction harassment? Or both…?
And… if ‘illegal eviction’ can be a threatened eviction (whilst the actual eviction has been staved off), is it likely that an RRO would be issued for a threatened illegal eviction?
A threatened illegal eviction can indeed be harassment, defined in the Protection from Eviction Act 1977 as acts done by a landlord or agent which would “Likely” cause the occupier to give up their occupation and in the case of “Any other person” other than a landlord or agent, acts that are done with the “Intent” of causing the occupier to give up their accommodation.
An actual illegal eviction happens when a an occupier is deprived of whole or part of premises but the Act also states “Or attempts to do so”. Its a bit unclear there whether that would also be an illegal eviction or harassment. I always take the view that it would be the latter, as a person thwarted from depriving the occupier means they havent yet deprived them of the premises.
For RRO purposes I would deem a threatened illegal eviction to be harassment.