Unlicensed HMO - tenant

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    Unlicensed HMO - tenant

    Hi all,
    Would welcome some advice as to best way forward.
    I live in an unlicensed HMO in a London borough and have for 5+ years. There are 8 people here, and the landlord lives in the property, which made me a lodger early on, but he moved away for a period to another property (which became his main home) and then returned, so I take it I have an AST in fact. Rent is paid monthly, there was never a written agreement, and I didn't pay a deposit. The landlord has been successfully prosecuted three times for running unlicensed HMOs in the borough over the last 5 years.

    I'm eager to leave and move in with a friend but am unsure how best to play this out. I imagine I could get the Council Environmental Health people in and pursue a Rent Repayment Order, either through them or by myself. However the return on this seems so derisory I'm not sure it's even worth it - the "up to twelve months" thing never comes close to being awarded, especially if he is hit with a large fine as a result of a prosecution (my understanding is they take that into account). If I pursue the RRO personally the likely outcome is unclear, the tribunal awards in those cases being perhaps even worse than the first idea.

    Or is there a more informal approach to be taken - since I cannot be evicted in current circumstances can I play that as a strength (while remaining completely inside the law please).

    Suggestions welcome, thanks.

    The tenancy has presumably gone periodic. Why not give one months notice and leave without any hassle?


      Because he's an extremely unpleasant person, and, well, self-interest.
      What's triggered this is that I didn't get any correspondence concerning the recent elections - turns out he's been systematically returning all elections correspondence with 'not at this address - return to sender' for those living here. I wasn't well pleased about this.


        He's probably telling council he's the only one living there, getting Council tax discount. Report him. And to HMRC for not declaring his rental income.

        Go after him for everything.

        I 'ates cooks & cheats, be they tenants, agent or landord
        I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...


          But turns out that OP doesn't just want to leave (which it seems he can easily do). He wants some sort of a handout (albeit from a possible rogue). What a society we live in........ dreadful.

          Yes report him to HMRC whatever - that is good. But handouts -- Bah...


            From experience I'd agree with the above - sounds like the landlord is trying to disguise who is resident in the property and probably claiming a council tax discount for single occupancy. You could always call the council and tell them of the situation...
            Previously served 10 years as a council tax advisor with a local authority but now self-employed with my own council tax consultancy.

            If your local authority disagrees with any aspects of your council tax claim, as they are free to do so, a Valuation Tribunal appeal may be required.


              Yes, I can well believe that's occurring too, although I do not know it for a fact. I have been told by someone else that years ago he definitely did claim the single person discount although there were many people here at that time, but that may have changed. There have been letters through from the Council Tax division from time to time that I have noticed, and the hunch I had was that they were of an investigatory character.

              Actually, we were specifically told at one time NOT to put our names on the electoral register, but to register ourselves at our family addresses instead! I was told that in person and I know others were too.

              I'm afraid I don't get AndrewDod's 'whither mankind' plea. Human beings are self-interested, and on a landlord forum I really ought not to have to even say that. If he knows a community of people who do nothing but work for others I'd love to know about it. And it's ironic in fact, because my work colleagues adore me precisely because I give them time, and my full attention, any time they think they need something of me. The RRO is a legal device for tenants to reclaim rent from landlords actually behaving illegally. If you have an issue with that, take it up with the politicians who implemented and then expanded this power, and if you think my interest to get something out of this situation makes me somehow morally equivalent to our landlord, who is unquestionably a rogue and has screwed over many many people (I can't begin to go into the stories here) then I'm afraid we're going to have to stay on different pages.


                You've lived there for 5 years plus.
                As you're aware of the issues with the landlord and have decided, rather than do anything about them, to continue living there benefitting from the situation, you become complicit in your landlord's activity.

                There's no longer a moral high ground for you to occupy.
                Now, you're just looking for further personal benefit.
                I hope that works out for you.
                When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


                  So you haven't been on the electoral roll for 5 years? How have you been able to get bank accounts, credit cards, job applications etc? Have you had to lie about where you live (i.e. at a family member's house)? Be careful, your actions could lead to a backlash of pain for you also.

                  Self-interest...just move out of this place and move in with your friend, report the guy to the Council Tax people and HMRC and the Council Housing Enforcement team and then go home, put your feet up and be happy that you've done your fellow citizens a good turn.



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