We acted for the successful tenant in a case decided by District Judge Harrison in the County Court at Brentford, West London on 28 May 2015.
Our client recovered compensation for 2 separate failures by the landlord to give her information about tenancy deposit schemes as required by s213 Housing Act 2004.
Our client entered into a 12 month fixed term tenancy from 18 May 2012 at a rent of £2,000 pcm and a deposit of £3,000.
The tenancy continued from 18 May 2013 to 24 December 2013 as a statutory periodic tenancy.
The deposit was paid by a third party (who was not a party to the case).
While the landlord, by its managing agents, protected the deposit as required by s213(3) HA 2004, our client claimed that:
District Judge Harrison decided that:
Having found that the information was not given, District Judge Harrison did not decide on a further issue.
This was our client’s claim that, even if she had been given the information, it was not in the prescribed form or in a form substantially to the same effect in that, as admitted by the landlord:
The case turned on a factual dispute - had the information had been given under the original tenancy?
The landlord’s agent said it sent to our client an envelope containing the tenancy agreement, inventory, the deposit protection certificate and a leaflet issued by the government authorised deposit scheme which protected the deposit (in this case, my|deposits).
There was no covering letter or any follow up to check that the certificate and leaflet had been received.
Nor had the agents told our client to expect the certificate and leaflet.
Our client admitted receiving the envelope but said that it contained only the tenancy agreement and the inventory which she reviewed on receipt and then returned to the envelope which she retained as received.
The court accepted her evidence.
So, the lesson for landlords is not only to give the information but also make sure you can prove it.
And know what information you are required to give – it not just the deposit protection certificate and the leaflet.
The certificate must be completed properly – not just names & addresses but also phone, fax and email.
If a third party paid the deposit, that party’s details must be entered on the certificate and they, too, must be given the information.
Note also the often overlooked requirement to provide a certificate of confirmation of compliance under Art 2(1)(g)(vii) of the 2007 Order.
The case was heard in the Fast Track and we’d made an offer (under Part 36 of the CPR) to settle for considerably less than was awarded.
Consequently, the landlord was ordered to pay our client’s costs on an indemnity (ie an enhanced) basis and additional penalty sums.
The timings of the key events in the case are of some interest.
The original tenancy was granted just 6 weeks after amendments were introduced to HA 2004 under the Localism Act 2011; the last date for giving the information after conversion to a statutory periodic tenancy was only 3 days after the Superstrike case – perhaps a reason why the compensation for that failure was assessed at only one times the deposit; and the case was heard 2 months after the Deregulation Act 2015 amendments came into force.