Five tenants who took action against their landlord and won all £15,000 of their rent back have become social media heroes.
The tenants had no complaints about their property or their landlord.
The property was clean, spacious and comfortable, and the monthly rent for the five bedroom home in Leeds was a reasonable £300 per person, bills included.
The six tenants – one decided against taking part in the action – had nothing against the landlord.
Indeed, the tenants stayed until the end of their tenancy last July – which was a couple of months after a visit by a council official showed that the landlord had not obtained an HMO licence.
This meant that for eight months the tenants had been renting a home that was being unlawfully let.
The housing officer told the group that while the council was pursuing legal action, the tenants would also be able to start a case and apply for a Rent Repayment Order.
Previously only local authorities could apply for these on behalf of the tenants.
However, tenants can now make these applications themselves, and the housing officer proved extremely helpful to the tenants, giving them the forms.
The group successfully applied for a full year’s rent back at the end of last month, and one of the tenants, Ben Leonard, posted a tweet showing a picture of four of the tenants raising their fists in triumph.
Leonard’s caption read: “Just took our ex-landlord to court and won all our rent back.”
The tweet swiftly racked up almost 80,000 likes, while hundreds of comments and questions flooded in.
Leonard, 24, said he had so many direct messages he couldn’t respond to them all.
He told the BBC, which has hailed the tenants as the ‘Leeds Five’: “People were sharing their stories, saying ‘My landlord is ******** me over, how did you do this?’ The response was incredible.”
The tenants seem more than happy with their win, with one planning to pay off their overdraft and go on holiday.