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What are rent payable orders and rent penalty notices

If your landlord is issued with a rent penalty notice (RPNs) or rent payable order (RPOs), they won't be allowed to collect any rent, or any other money, from the tenant or occupier of the house being rented out. This system is aimed at the landlord and not at the tenants. RPNs and RPOs are issued for different reasons but they have same practical effect on you as the tenant.

What is a rent penalty notice (RPN)?

If a private landlord is renting out property without being registered with the council, the council can send a rent penalty notice (RPN) to that landlord.

What is a rent payable order (RPO)?

The council can apply to the court for a rent payable order (RPO) if an antisocial behaviour notice has been served on the landlord but they haven't done what it says.

It's very unlikely that the council will send a landlord an RPO if their tenants don't receive housing benefit and are paying all or part of their rent themselves, because this would have the effect of rewarding tenants for behaving badly!

My landlord's been given an RPN or RPO - what does this mean for me?

If the council has issued your landlord with an RPN or RPO, this means you won't have to pay any rent, or other money, to your landlord while the RPN or RPO is in force.

The council has to let you know if they are sending your landlord an RPN or RPO. At the same time, they should also send you some information about your housing rights.

It's important to be aware that the landlord can appeal against the rent penalty. If the appeal is successful, you might have to pay all the backdated rent after all (unless the council failed to give you all the relevant information about the appeal, in which case you may not have to pay backdated rent). It's a good idea to put the money aside in case you have to pay it back later. For example, put it in a separate bank account, or another safe place, so that you won't spend it.

What if I get housing benefit?

If you're receiving housing benefit, you won't be entitled to it while a rent penalty notice or rent payable order is in force. The council should sort this out as soon as the RPN or RPO is issued but, to be on the safe side, you should also contact the housing benefit department to make sure they know that a rent penalty has been issued.

If your housing benefit gets paid directly to you and you keep getting money after the rent penalty is issued, put the money aside somewhere and don't spend it, as you will have to send it back at some point. Our section on housing and council tax benefit has more information on all sorts of benefits, including housing benefit.

How long will an RPN or RPO last?

The RPN or RPO will last until either:

  • the owner of your home successfully registers with the council
  • the antisocial behaviour of the tenant has stopped (if this is the issue) and the RPO is cancelled (or 'revoked')
  • the landlord has successfully appealed against the RPN, or
  • the court decides that it's no longer appropriate to have the RPN or RPO in force.

Can I be evicted?

You can't be evicted just because your landlord has received an RPN or RPO (although you could be evicted because of antisocial behaviour). If your landlord tries to throw you out just because of a rent penalty, this is a criminal offence and you should report it to the police. Have a look at our page on illegal eviction for more information.

However, if the landlord has received an RPN, this means that they aren't registered with the council and, therefore, should not be renting the property out to you. This means they will have to stop being your landlord unless they become registered with the council. Read the page on landlord registration to find out more about this situation.

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This content applies to Scotland only.
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