An Essex property management company and agent has been told to pay back rent totalling £1,675 to one of its former tenants after the property was found not be licenced, despite being operated as an HMO.
The tenant, a Mrs C Siddique, has taken management Empire Property Managers Ltd (EPM) to a First Tier Tribunal after staying in the Romford property for two months during early 2020, applying for a Rent Repayment Order.
She lived in the house with four other tenants including a young couple with a baby and, after moving in, discovered the property was in a sorry state with broken floorboards and worn-out laminate flooring and also that bills were not included in her £825-a-month rent, as had been agreed.
She was also only issued with a Assured Tenancy contract until after moving in, which named EPM a the landlord, after which she found that the heating and electricity were operated by coin meter, and that her curtains were broken.
Siddique claims to have been intimidated by the other tenants in the property and also representatives of EPM.
After contacting the Havering Borough Council, it was confirmed that the property was not licensed.
After moving out as soon as possible to alternative accommodation, Mrs Siddique applied for a RRO and, following a hearing at which Empire Property Managers were not represented, has been awarded the cash.
EMP has a month to repay the money, although this is unlikely – it was struck off Companies House last month.
“The Tribunal found Mrs Siddique to be an honest witness who provided a full paper trail of what had occurred,” said Judge Daley.
“Accordingly the Tribunal was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that Mrs Siddique had occupied a room within the premises which required a licence, and had made two rent payments between January and March 2020.”