Tenants who are wrongly evicted may be entitled to 12 months rent refund
TENANTS could get back 12 months worth of rent if they are wrongly evicted.
Landlords must follow certain rules to evict tenants – and if they don't renters could be owed a refund worth thousands of pounds.
A section 21 "no fault" notice is commonly used to evict tenants who are renting a property.
But to use it, a landlord must have a valid licence.
Houses of multiple occupation (HMO) where there are several people living together in separate rooms must have a licence.
Other types of rental property may also have to be licensed under local council rules – over 50 local councils have a licensing system in England according to Which?.
What to do if you can’t pay your rent
FOR private renters, speak to your landlord as soon as you can.
They may be able to defer your payment, or to allow you to pay a smaller amount – but they don't have to do this.
Social renters should speak to their housing association or local council.
If you've tried speaking to your housing association or landlord and they aren't being sympathetic, contact Shelter for advice and support. They'll be able to guide you about what to do next.
If you're finding it difficult to manage your payments because you're in debt, here are some tips for you to curb it:
Check your bank balance on a regular basis – knowing your spending patterns is the first step to managing your money
Work out your budget – by writing down your income and taking away your essential bills such as food and transport
If you have money left over, plan in advance what else you’ll spend or save. If you don’t, look at ways to cut your costs
Pay off more than the minimum – If you’ve got credit card debts aim to pay off more than the minimum amount on your credit card each month to bring down your bill quicker
Pay your most expensive credit card sooner – If you have more than one credit card and can’t pay them off in full each month, prioritise the most expensive card (the one with the highest interest rate)
Prioritise your debts – If you’ve got several debts and you can’t afford to pay them all it’s important to prioritise them. Your rent, mortgage, council tax and energy bills should be paid first because the consequences can be more serious if you don't pay
Get advice – If you’re struggling to pay your debts month after month it’s important you get advice as soon as possible, before they build up even further.
Groups like Citizens Advice, Money Advice Trust or StepChange can also help you prioritise and negotiate with your creditors to offer you more affordable repayment plans.
If the landlord does not have a licence then the section 21 notice eviction is invalid.
But not only that, under separate rules landlords without a licence can be ordered to repay tenant's rent up to 12 months if they don't have a licence.
For example, if you pay £500 a month in rent, you may be entitled to a refund worth £6,000 in total.
Or if you pay £90 a week in rent, you may be owed £4,680 in total.
How to make a claim
A rent repayment order (RRO) can force a landlord to return the money for breaking rules.
A tenant or the council can apply for this through a tribunal, and a council might offer help doing this as they run the licencing scheme.
There may be fees involved but these can be claimed back if successful, says housing charity Shelter.
Renting a property without a licence not the only thing that can make an eviction wrong, though you won't be entitled to a rent refund in these cases.
A section 21 notice could be invalid if:
- A tenants' deposit isn't protected in a government-approved scheme.
- Not enough notice is given
- Tenants are not given an Energy Performance Certificate or gas safety certificate
- A landlord takes more than 5 weeks' rent as a deposit or charges fees that are not allowed
There are other rules in place that mean you could get money back if your landlord breaks certain rules though.
Landlords now only have to give four months notice to evict tenants as Covid eviction rules changed this month.
Here's how tenants can fight back against no-fault evictions.
There are seven locations in the UK where renting is now cheaper than buying a home.
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