Tribunal Awards £14K for Unlicensed London Flat

Tenants chasing rent repayment orders and legal costs of £14,000 against the landlords of a shabby, unlicensed shared flat were blaming the wrong people for the state of their rented home, the family owning the home told a property tribunal.

The family told First-Tier Property Tribunal Judge Jim Shepherd that letting agents named Abdul and Amina Muhammed as owners. Still, the tenancy should have been in their son Zafar Ahmed's name.

The family argued Zafar Ahmed had no case to answer as any rent repayment claim would be outside the 12-month limit from the date of an offence for bringing the matter to the tribunal.

However, the judge allowed the case to proceed and heard the claimants, Maria Hernandez and Jasmeet Singh Sumal, two of four tenants renting separate rooms at a four-bedroomed flat in George Road, Holloway, North London.

Hernandez told the tribunal that the flat was riddled with water leaks, the entrance door was damaged, a mirror was broken, the oven door was damaged, the curtains were dirty, the carpets were unclean, mice had infested the flat, electrical sockets were defective, and the lights did not always work.

Misleading evidence

She said that despite regular reports to letting agents, only two repairs were carried out—the mouse infestation was treated, and the kitchen door was repaired.

Hernandez paid £650 monthly rent, while Sumal paid £800.

The tribunal ruled in favour of the claimants and awarded them £14,093 under rent repayment orders and £600 costs.

The judge said he felt the couple were trying to mislead the tribunal. He was sure, beyond any doubt, that Mr and Mrs Muhammed were the landlords of the flat and that no mistake was made in naming them on the tenancy agreements.

Read the full judgement. 

Other recent property tribunal rulings:

First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber)

Camden Council, London - Appeal against Financial Penalty Notices (FPN) at Swinton Street, Kings Cross, London.

Rent repayment order of £495 relating to an unlicensed HMO at Wardell House, Welland Street, Greenwich, London.

Rent repayment order was refused relating to the flat in New Kings Road, Chelsea, West London, and is not subject to selective licensing.

Rent repayment orders totalling £8,689 relating to an unlicensed HMO in Imperial Road, Bounds Green, North London.

Prohibited payment of £45 handed over as a holding deposit for a room to rent in College Street, Edmonton, North London.

Rent repayment order of £10,108 plus £300 costs relating to an unlicensed HMO at St John’s Crescent, Brixton, South London.

Rent repayment order - of £2,583 relating to an unlicensed HMO at Brondesbury Road, Queen’s Park, North London.

A rent repayment order was refused against the Duke of Wellington and Lady Charlotte Anne Santa Domingo regarding a flat at St Mary’s Terrace, Paddington, West London.

Rent repayment order - of £864 plus £150 costs relating to an unlicensed HMO in Carlton \road, Bournemouth.

Nottingham City Council - reduced FPN from £6,000 to £4,960 relating to unlicensed HMO at Landseer Close, Nottingham.

Nottingham City Council - Appeals against two prohibition notices and an improvement notice relating to housing run by a charity in the city.

Revoked Prohibition Order on appeal for semi-commercial property at Norman Road, Smethwick, Birmingham.

Rent repayment order of £1,120 relating to a tenant unlawfully evicted from a flat at Watlands View, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire.


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Licensing of Private Rented Properties

The Housing Act 2004 introduced licensing of private rented premises. It is compulsory to license larger, higher-risk dwellings, but local authorities are also able to license other types of rented premises, including other lower-risk HMOs and individual houses and flats, if they can establish that other avenues for tackling problems in these properties have been exhausted.