in court arguing over a deposit again!
Suurpere entered into an assured shorthold tenancy agreement with the landlords Nice and Anor for a period of 6 months on the 9th January 2009.
For a number of reasons the relationship between the parties began to deteriorate and the landlords served a Section 21 and issued possession proceedings on this notice which was in fact defective.
The landlords did not lodge the deposit with a scheme pursuant to Section 213 of the Housing Act 2004 until the 20 July 2009. On the 10 August 2009 the tenant issued for this breach, which included the landlords’ failure to provide the “prescribed information”.
On the 14 August 2009 the tenant left the premises allegedly due to the landlords unlawful harassment. The deposit was returned to her in full on the 1 September 2009. In their defence the landlord’s confirmed that the tenant had received her rent in full and that their failure to register the deposit was a “innocent technical breach”.
The county court judge applied the decision in Draycott and held that because the landlord had registered the deposit before the tenant issued proceedings, the sanctions in Section 214 (4) (3 times the penalty) did not apply. The tenant therefore appealed.
The landlords claimed that pursuant to the Hashemi case because the tenant “vacated” on the 14th August 2009 the court had no power to make an order under Section 214 (4).
However, the Appeal court held that in Hashemi the date on which the tenancy ended was clear but in this case the tenant did not accept that her tenancy had been determined because she brought a claim for wrongful eviction, claiming that she was forced to vacate as a result of the landlord’s harassment. Therefore Hashemi did not apply.
The tenant relied on Tiensia and argued that due to the landlord’s failure to register the deposit with a scheme and provide the requisite information in the prescribed form she was entitled to an award of a sum of money equal to 3 times the amount of the deposit. The Court of Appeal agreed with this and awarded 3 times the deposit because the tenancy had not been lawfully determined.