A local council has taken back housing benefit payments from a landlord convicted of house in multiple occupation (HMO) management offences.
Thurrock Council brought Tobe Ayandare before the Eastern Residential Property First Tier Tribunal to claim £1,071 compensation for housing benefit paid for a tenant living in a defective home in South Ockendon, Essex. The case is believed to be the first time a rent repayment order has been issued under powers granted by the Housing and Planning Act 2016.
The tribunal hearing followed magistrates at Basildon fining Ayandare £9,000 in March for failing to comply with an improvement notice after the tenant complained to the council about the state of their home.
In court, Ayandare faced 10 housing offences, and the house was described as having rotten and insecure doors and windows, a leaking boiler and was infested with vermin. The local council paid to repair the property and is taking separate action to recover the costs. The tribunal compensation relates to rent paid to Ayandare as housing benefit during the 10-week term of the improvement notice.
Councillor Barry Johnson, Thurrock Council portfolio holder for Housing, said: “This is a landmark case for the council.
“I am delighted that not only have we been able to prosecute and ensure the necessary improvement works are carried out at the landlord’s expense, but also to recover rent for the very first time.”
Under the Housing and Planning Act 2016, a tenant or local council can apply to a tribunal for repayment of the money if a landlord has committed a housing offence. The tribunal can award compensation for up to a year to the day the application was made. Find out more about the Housing and Planning Act 2016.