Tenants' False Claims Lead to Dismissed RRO Case

A judge dismissed a rent repayment order claim from a group of tenants because one repeatedly lied in giving evidence.

Tenants Lisa Angelini and Joana Rodrigues claimed to the First Tier Tribunal Property Chamber for a rent refund of £9,721, arguing their flat with four double bedrooms in Finsbury Park, North London, was an unlicensed shared house infested with mould.

But Judge Niamh O’Brien rejected the claim and slammed Angelini as unreliable for trying to influence Joana Rodrigues's evidence.

She also disbelieved photos she provided as evidence of mould in a bedroom.

“The tribunal did not consider Ms Angelini to be a credible witness,” said the judge.

“Firstly, she had to be reprimanded twice during Ms Rodrigues’s evidence for attempting to influence her answers.

“Secondly, she made assertions about the property's condition that were demonstrably false. In particular, she asserted that a bedroom in the property was suffering from damp and ‘significant’ mould growth, which was not evident in the photographs she submitted. She relied, in particular, on a photo that she asserted showed mould growth on a bedroom ceiling but which had the appearance of scuff marks.

“Thirdly, she relied on a telephone conversation between herself and the respondent, which she recorded without the respondent’s knowledge or consent. There was some dispute as to whether this was legal or not, but in the view of this tribunal, it was not particularly candid.

“Fourthly, Ms Angelini, having indicated to the respondent that she had vacated her room, moved back into the premises without first informing her former landlord that she intended to do so or seeking her consent.”

The rent repayment order claim was dismissed.

Tenants with £10,000 arrears win rent refund

Mother-and-son landlord team Asu and Anand Daryanani must refund tenants with rent arrears of £15,444 rent plus £300 costs for running a three-bed semi in Maida Vale, West London, as a shared house without a licence.

The First Tier Tribunal Property Chamber heard three tenants making two households lived in the property that rented out for £2,145 a month within Westminster Council’s additional licensing zone, but the landlord had no license.

Anand Daryanani explained to the tribunal that an online application for an HMO licence referred him to the council’s housing officer, who explained the property was not an HMO but would need a licence as a buy-to-let under the additional licence scheme, which was due to start some months later.

The council did not contact the landlord about the licence, so the landlord made no application. The tribunal decided this was not a reasonable excuse for not having a licence.

Later, during discussions over a leaking roof, the tenants realised their home should have a licence, which triggered a visit from the council.

The tenants also admitted arrears of £10,688.

The tribunal decided the landlords should have applied for an additional licence and, as a result, could make a rent repayment order without considering the arrears.

The RRO was £25,470 at the total amount, discounted by 40 per cent to £15,444 plus costs of £300.

Other cases before property tribunals last month included:

First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber)

Natasha Dunbar - Unlicensed HMO in Elliotts Row, Elephant and Catslte, London - Rent Repayment Order (RRO) £27,091 plus £300 costs.

Dr Ming Sow - Unlicensed HMO in Commercial Road, East London - RRO £5,292 plus £3000 costs.

Norman Sengooba - Appeal against improvement notice penalty against a home in Hilda Road, Canning Town, East London -  Penalty reduced from £15,000 to £10,000.

Paramjit Gill - Unlicensed HMO in Redmead Road, Hayes, West London - RRO £5,915 plus £300 costs.

Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber)

Taqeer Shah and TSMB Ltd -  Appeal against £21,000 RRO relating to HMO, in Somerset Road, Walthamstow, East London - Dismissed.

View Related Handbook Page

Investing in a Property

Investing in a private rented property can be achieved in a variety of ways. Sometimes landlords inherit a property that they then turn over to renting. Sometimes owners of properties become unintentional landlords because they are unable or unwilling to sell a property at the value the market currently dictates.