Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tenancy deposit roundup

A few matters on the subject of tenancy deposit protection which I have been meaning to comment on for a while.

The August issue of Legal Action Magazine has two cases on tenancy deposit claims, which go to support tenants claiming against landlords who breach the tenancy deposit regulations. If you want to read the full stories, this is set out in Nearly Legal. However just to summarise:

Woods v.Harrington
This case involved a landlord who protected the deposit so late it was after the tenancy agreement had ended. The Judge held that was 'not only contrary to the letter of the law but is contrary to the spirit of the law and the public policy considerations that Parliament was seeking'. The landlord lost and was ordered to pay the penalty fine of three times the deposit sum for being in breach of the tenancy deposit regulations.

Delicate v. Sandberg
Here the landlord served the s21 notice before the deposit was protected. However notwithstanding this, in the absence of the tenant in prison, they obtained an order for possession and possession of the property via the bailiffs. On being released from prison, the tenant re-entered. The Landlords applied for an order for restitution, but the Court held that the section 21 notice had been invalid, the possession order should be set aside.

The swarb forum
My client Alan (you know who you are) has also drawn my attention to two interesting posts on the forum:

1. This one says that a tenancy deposit case it to be taken to the Court of Appeal, funded by one of the landlords associations. If anyone has any more information about this, please leave a comment.

2. This one is an interesting post looking at the complexities of the TDPS legislation, pointing out that the wording appears to provide for the landlord to escape the penalty by paying the deposit at any time before the court hearing, and also discussing whether the legislation can apply to former tenants as well as current ones.

I will be doing a presentation on tenancy deposits for my talk for Professional Conferences in December, so would welcome any information readers may have about new cases and developments.

(Note - you can read all my other posts on tenancy deposits here)

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Anonymous said...

Hi, I was wondering what counts as a new AST for the purposes of TDP. I have read Saad v Hogan and it would appear that only a new fixed term AST is recognised. I signed an ammendment agreeing to a new rent amount after April 07 (the original agreement was signed in March). Could it be argued that this constitutes a new AST, or will it just be viewed as an ammendment?

Many Thanks,


Tessa Shepperson said...

This is looked at in my post New tenancy deposit case - deposit paid before 7 April 07. Although with all these cases it is a County Court decision and therefore not necessarily binding on another court.

AllanMurray said...

My daughter has a judgement against her landlord for return of depsoit and rent PLUS 3x deposit. He has failed to pay. We had him in court in October 2008 to answer questions re his finances. He did not produce any proof NOR was he asked for any by the court clerk despite noptice 39a telling him to produce. We have tried to get him back again (extra cost) and after a cock up by the Court (the latest of many)but he failed to appear. He has been sentenced to 14 days in prison (suspended ) and is to appear 16 Dec 09.
Issues coming from this :
1. When we started out in Mar 08 the Sheffield CC had no idea what to do. (Seemingle neither had ManchesterCC, BuryCC).
2. The judge decided we had to include the 3x depsoit in the claim- extra charge as it put the tiotal into a higher band. Despite the Act saying that the court WILL ORDER the landlord to pay 3x deposit. No mention of having to claim it.
3. The 3x deposit is an award, NOT A FINE. The court have no [power to get the money. You have to pay and go down one of the 4 routes described.
4. The case has been littered with incompetence by Sheffield and Altrincham courts. The staff are blase and don't appear to be remotely interested in the victim getting help, let alone any justice.
5. The sections of the 2004 Act came into force April 2007. HMCS head offive sent out guidelines to courts in AUG 2008.
Not only is the law an ass, it is an incompetent ass.
For the full story (which will hit the press after 16 Dec) you can contact me on
Cheers and all the best

Tessa Shepperson said...

I agree that it is rather misleading to call it a fine as it is a civil remedy. The courts will never do anything to help enforce CCJs, you need to do this and pay the relevant fee. I have to say that the enforcement remedies available are not good, and this is a major problem with our legal system.

At Landlord Law we have some special enforcement services available to our members on this page.

So far as the court staff are concerned, as Gordon Brown has handed most of this countries money over to the banks to prevent financial meltdown, there is little left over to pay Court staff decent wages and for training, which to some extent explains their attitude.

Good luck and do keep me informed.