A legal tribunal has ruled that a landlord must refund his tenants rent totalling £2,934 because he housed them in unlicensed Houses in Multiple Occupation.
In December last year Andrew Coyle, of Cheltenham, was convicted of managing two unlicensed HMOs - both in Oxford - and fined a total of £10,000 for the offences.
After those convictions, Oxford council supported tenants in the houses to make applications for rent repayment orders. These allow tenants in unlicensed HMOs to apply to the First-tier Tribunal Property Chamber (Residential Property) to claim back rent they had paid to a convicted landlord.
Now the tenants have been told by the tribunal they should receive £2,934 in total.
“The council welcomes the tribunal’s ruling and will continue to support tenants to recover rents paid to convicted landlords. Tenants in HMOs have the right to safe, healthy and good quality accommodation” says a spokesman for the authority.
An estimated one in five of Oxford’s resident population - which has a high propertion of renters - live in an HMO. Surveys have shown that HMOs provide the poorest homes in the city and the council claims the majority of these are unsafe.
In January this year, the council extended the HMO licensing scheme for an additional five years until 2021.