Improvement Notice and Rent Repayment Orders

Thurrock Council has successfully prosecuted a landlord for failing to comply with an Improvement Notice.

Thurrock Council initially commenced proceedings in March this year against a landlord for failing to comply with an improvement notice under the Housing Act 2004. The improvement notice was issued following complaints by the occupiers of a private rented property that there was:

  • Rotten and insecure window and door frames
  • An untested and leaking boiler
  • Rodent infestation.

Having successfully prosecuted the landlord the Council then sought to recover the housing benefit paid during the 10 week period in which he failed to comply with the improvement notice. The First Tier Tribunal awarded the rent repayment order of some £1,071.12 under the Housing and Planning Act 2016.

Comment

Thurrock are asserting that this is one of the first times that a rent repayment order has been made under the Housing and Planning Act 2016. Prior to the 2016 Act any repayment orders were only issued in circumstances where landlords or agents failed to obtain an HMO license when one should have been obtained. Under the changes created by the Housing and Planning Act 2016 there are now a wider range of offences which may result in an increase in rent repayment orders being made. This action by Thurrock demonstrates a clear appetite by some local authorities to make use of these new powers and will put pressure on landlords to comply.

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