£85,000 Rent Repayment Order for unlicenced student accommodation
Student renters are being encouraged to check the licensing status of their homes after one management company was forced to repay nearly £85,000 of rent for not having the correct license.
The warning came from Very Wise Student – a new service offering free specialist advice and support to students – including free legal checks.
S C Osney Management – owners and operators of the 242-room Student Castle in Oxford – were last week ordered to repay £84,877 of rent after being found not to have a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) license.
Under the Housing Act 2004, licensing is mandatory for HMOs occupied by five or more people – and some councils operate even stricter schemes. Councils such as Greenwich are also introducing more stringent selective licensing regimes.
Following a case brought by 44 tenants, the company was ordered to return more than a third of the rent paid by students during the time the property was unlicensed.
Very Wise Student founder Ajay Jagota responded to the ruling:
“For most students, the legal status of their accommodation is the last thing on their mind, but not only are things like gas and safety certificates literally a matter of life and death, but they could also be in line for compensation or rent refunds if their landlords haven’t fulfilled their legal obligations.
Renter Repayment Orders (RRO) can be made for certain “offences”
“The problem is that most students don’t have the legal know-how to uphold their rights, or the resources to lawyer up. That’s why we created our free service to make sure they get the help and support they need.
“Even though this company was found to have not deliberately failed to get a license – it’s highly unlikely they’re the only landlord to be operating without the necessary paperwork and I advise all students to take advantage of free specialist services like ours to make sure that their legal rights are being protected”.
Very Wise Student also offers a FREE Student Accommodation Safety check of a rental property’s gas, fire and electricity safety compliance.
The service also offers students a FREE LEGAL SUPPORT Help-line offering advice on:
- Boiler problems
- Tenancy Agreement disputes
- Deposit issues
- Rodent and pest infestations
- Revenge issues
- Rent rises
- Landlord visits
All calls are handled by qualified solicitors with at least 5 years of post-qualification experience.
Very Wise can also help students with tax advice, including student loans, part-time work and Council Tax. A free counselling helpline also offers students support with academic pressures, personal problems and money worries.
More information is available at Verywisestudent.io
Very Wise Student has been launched by online claims management firm Veriswise, offering access to helplines in partnership with a large legal insurance firm.
Veriwise can take on housing disrepair claims, deposit disputes and illegal eviction claims on behalf of students should there be any issues. Students can claim compensation from landlords and/or agents if there is a valid claim which is presented to legal counsel who can take the case to court to ensure the landlord complies and pays any compensation.