A Birmingham buy to let landlord has been ordered to repay £7,500 of rent he collected from tenants on housing benefit.  The reason was that he had failed to obtain a House in Multiple Occupation Licence.  The order was made by the Residential Property Tribunal who decided that the council should receive a refund of the housing benefit rent they had paid while the let property was unlicenced.

The Tribunal is empowered to order landlords to repay up to twelve months rent.  If a tenant is not on housing benefit the rent is repaid direct to the tenant.

A spokesperson for Birmingham City Council said “We have shown time and again we will not hesitate to prosecute landlords who do not have HMO Licences and fines can be up to £20,000.  In this case we are the first local authority in the West Midlands to secure a rent repayment order”.

Landlords of let property need to make sure their buy to let property insurance is suitable for the type of tenant and letting they are engaged in, and that they have disclosed all the circumstances to the insurer. Property owners insurance is different to normal homeowner insurance so you should seek specialist cover or else you may find yourself not covered.