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Southwark helps tenants get rent back

24 February 2022

Southwark Council supports private rented sector tenants in bringing a case against their landlord, Alexander "Sandy" Macmillan. The tenants claim that their landlord had rented them an unlicensed property, 9 Setchell Way, SE1, was supported by the council and Tribunal Judge, Professor Richard Percival, on 18 November 2021.

The Tribunal instructed Macmillan to pay £18,660 in rent repayments, to the four former tenants of 9 Setchell Way.

Southwark Council’s property licensing schemes aim to reassure people living in or looking to move into, quality private rented accommodation in the borough.

It is an offence to operate a licensable property, if it is not licenced. The tenants at 9 Setchell Way were successful in their application for a Rent Repayment Order, for the time that the property remained unlicensed. Other penalties for operating unlicensed properties include a criminal conviction, unlimited fines or a financial penalty of up to £30,000.

The tenants were supported in their claim by Justice for Tenants, a non-profit organisation that works to improve standards for renters, educating tenants about their rights and providing training to advice services and council staff. This helps more effective enforcement against rogue landlords and agents, to protect tenants.

Cllr Darren Merrill, Cabinet Member for a Safer, Cleaner Borough, said: “We are proud that our property licensing scheme enabled these tenants to raise their complaint at the tribunal. With valuable support from Justice for Tenants they secured a rent repayment, because their landlord had failed to register with our scheme.

“We know that the majority of reputable Southwark landlords who let good quality properties, are already compliant. However, we hope that any who are not, take note of this result and hasten to license their property with us.”

Al Mcclenahan, Justice for Tenants, Outreach and Training Lead, said: “This application succeeded thanks to the joined-up hard work of the tenants, Southwark council's housing enforcement team and Justice for Tenants' Rent Repayment Order Team. It's vital that landlords do not believe they can make more money operating outside of the law, and this Rent Repayment Order helps break that business model. An HMO licence helps ensure that tenants have the bare minimum safety standards in their property. Southwark's willingness to work together with tenants and Justice for Tenants makes a huge difference to the quality of life of its residents in the Private Rented Sector.”

Page last updated: 24 February 2022

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