Rent repayment orders – superior landlords cannot be liable confirms Supreme Court

01 March 2023

The Supreme Court today handed down its decision in Rakusen v Jepson & Ors [2023] UKSC 9 – after the tenants appealed the Court of Appeal decision (Rakusen v Jepson & Ors [2021] EWCA Civ 1150).

As discussed in July 2021, at the time of the Court of Appeal judgment, the case concerned a common circumstance: the owner of a property lets it to a letting company, the company in turn grants tenancies to various individuals who occupy.

Legal issue being considered

The issue was whether the superior landlord can be a respondent to an application for a rent repayment order (RRO) where the property is an unlicensed HMO.

The Court of Appeal answered that question in the negative with heavy emphasis on the interpretation of s.40(2) Housing and Planning Act 2016.

The Supreme Court unanimously dismissed the appeal, effectively approving the reasoning of the Court of Appeal and listing 7 additional factors consistent with their interpretation.

Read the complete judgment in Rakusen v Jepson & Ors [2023] UKSC 9

If you would like advice on bringing or defending an application for a rent repayment order, please contact us.