Looking through the latest edition of Legal Action there are two cases on tenancy deposits. These are County Court cases and so not binding but they are of interest.
In O’Brien v Jones, Northampton County Court, 12 February 2010 it was claimed by the tenant that teh landlord had failed to provide the full information prescribed by the Housing (Tenancy Deposits) (Prescribed Information) Order 2007. Specifically, the landlord had not provided her address and telephone number. However, the agent’s address and telephone number were provided on other documents. DJ Watson found that this was sufficient and that, in any event, the situation had been remedied prior to the hearing. This does address one remaining area of uncertainty as there has been no clear decision on whether the prescribed information does actually require the provision of the landlord’s address and telephone number or whether providing the agent’s details is enough. Understandably many landlords who are spending money on a managing agent are reluctant to give their personal details to the tenant on the basis that they do not want to deal with them. It seems that DJ Watson agrees that the agent’s details are sufficient.
In Baafi v Mapp, Central London County Court, 24 June 2010 the landlord had registered the deposit with MyDeposits. He had failed to properly appreciate that the MyDeposits scheme does not and cannot provide all the information required by the Prescribed information Order. In particular, MyDeposits makes clear on its certificate that it does not tell the tenant what to do at the end of the tenancy if the landlord or agent cannot be contacted and also does not explain what things the landlord will retain the tenancy deposit against. MyDeposits expects these items to be dealt with in the tenancy agreement. It should be noted here that DPS does much the same thing. The landlord was using a tenancy agreement which the Court described as ‘archaic’ which did not clear up these areas. On appeal the tenant was awarded the usual three times the deposit penalty and the landlord’s claim for possession based on a section 21 notice was dismissed as the notice could not be relied on until all the proper information had been given to the tenant.
Tenants should note that PainSmith solicitors is now operating a “no win, no fee” service for tenants whose tenancies have ended and whose landlords have not properly protected their deposits. Contact us for more details.
Since this blog, a large number of court judgements have had a significant impact on the legislation surrounding the protection of tenants’ deposits. Consequently, we are no longer in a position to offer the ‘no win, no fee’ service.