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Tenancy deposits – two recent cases

housesI have been alered to a number of new cases through my subscription to the Destin case law service (private sector tenancies).

Here are two on tenancy deposits, which were also reported on Nearly Legal.  Which go to show that in some circumstances the tenancy deposit penalties are not dead.

Suurpere v. Nice – High Court of Justice – 27 July 2011

Ms Suurpere was granted an AST by Mr and Mrs Nice and paid a deposit of £500. However the landlords protected the deposit late and failed to serve any notice with prescribed information at all.

The tenant claimed for the penalty of three times the deposit sum as a counter claim to a claim for possession.

At first instance the claim was dismissed.  However, Ms Suurpere was successful in appealing the case to the High Court, who made the award. The case of Tiensia did not apply as the prescribed information had still not been provided at the date of the court hearing, and the later case of Gladehurst did not apply either as the tenancy had not ended.

Owolabi v Bello – Court of Appeal – 29 June 2011

We don’t have a full report for this case which is a shame as it sounds rather entertaining.

It involves a claim for possession and a counterclaim for damages for unlawful eviction. The landlord’s behaviour must have been pretty bad as the Judge awarded the defendant £13,000 damages!

Interestingly the Judge also made an award in respect of the deposit and ordered that the deposit be repaid together with the penalty payment of three times the deposit sum.

The landlord tried to appeal the decision to the Court of Appeal but they refused to accept the case, as her appeal apparently consisted of attackng the Judges’ findings of fact. Any appeals to the Court of Appeal can only be based on an mistake in law, not a mistake in fact.

So despite Tiensia and Gladehurst, the courts will still in suitable cases make awards in respect of the tenancy deposit penalty.

If anyone knows anything more about the facts of the Owolabi case, please leave a comment. It would be interesting to know more about it.

I’ll try to report on some of the other new cases next week.

Photo from Images of Money



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About the post author:

Tessa Shepperson

Tessa is a lawyer specialising in residential landlord and tenant law. She runs the Landlord Law website (now in its 12th year) and is a director of Easy Law Training Ltd and Your Law Store. Tessa also sits on the Property Redress Scheme Council. When not working she enjoys reading, cooking and messing around on the computer. You can also find her on Google



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Tessa is an English lawyer specialising in residential landlord and tenant law.


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