Keith Goldsbrough & co are still waiting for their First-tier Tribunal hearing. When we (Flat Justice) originally took their Rent Repayment Order (RRO) case on I told Keith it would probably all be over by his birthday…in May 2019!
Up until 11th November, their path to justice was blocked by the FtT who ruled their case would kept on hold until Rakusen v Jepsen was decided. Another of our cases was also blocked by an Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) (UT) ruling that would only allow an appeal if Goldsbrough would be overthrown. So that’s that one sorted…apart from the pending judicial review.
Happily Goldsbrough stood. Anything else would have meant Rent Repayment Orders would have been dead and this vital piece of legislation for tenant protection would have been rendered useless.
Rakusen spends a lot words on words. At times it almost feels like the UT is humouring the grammatical and lexical contortions put forward by the appellant. But the The Housing and Planning Act 2016 (HaPA) stood firm and even reinforced the Goldsbrough ruling.
It was nice to see the same arguments and authorities called on in this judgement that were made by Flat Justice originally. I’ve posted those here in case you’re interested.
So why is it so important the Goldsbrough stands? The Goldsbrough case is a perfect example.
Some time before we even had directions in this case the Respondent selected by the FtT, CAPM or rather its director rang me up and wanted to negotiate a settlement. They had talked to a solicitor and they had advised a settlement made sense. What they offered,however, didn’t make any sense and negotiations were soon ended.
The very next day, a new company was formed by the same director with a similar name. It was clear to us why no higher offer had been forthcoming.
The Rakusen decision leaves this argument to the end but it is the clearest reason why Goldsbrough has to stand:
Without Goldsbrough the First-tier Tribunal Property Chamber (Residential Property) (FtT) would only consider RRO applications against the immediate landlord: the one named on the Tenancy Agreement. So any landlord that wanted to circumvent RRO legislation could simply set up a shell company to be the named landlord: an RRO award would then be no more painful than winding up an asset-less Ltd company and starting up a new one. The hapless tenant Applicants would be left clutching their receipt for £300 in Tribunal fees and a worthless decision. Parliament would have completely wasted its time in legislating against criminal landlords. And tenants would again be left with little protection.