This is a new case reported in the excellent Legal Action Magazine, Saad v. Hogan from the Brentford County Court.
Ms Hogan paid her deposit, £1,000, in November 2005. Her tenancy was renewed in November 2007. In June 2008 the landlord brought proceedings for possession based on the serious rent arrears ground. Ms Hogan counterclaimed for the ‘fine’ of three times the deposit amount on the basis that the deposit had not been protected, and asked that this be offset against the rent arrears.
The Judge at first instance found for the landlord and made the possession order. This was on the basis that there was no obligation on the landlord to protect the deposit, as no deposit moneys had been paid when the tenancy was renewed in November 2007, but only before the regulations came into force on 7 April 2007. Ms Hogan appealed.
The appeal Judge viewed the case differently. He found it extraordinary that there was no provision in the legislation for this situation. However the main purpose of the legislation was to protect deposits. Although there had not been any physical or electronic payment of money in November 2007, in a sense there had been a payment at that time. He allowed the appeal, and awarded £3,000 to Ms Hogan to be offset against the rent arrears.
As this case was an appeal to the County Court Judge it will have more authority than District Judge decisions. However it will still, technically, not be binding. It would be nice if this could go to the Court of Appeal, so this point could be settled.
However the case does support the view generally taken by lawyers, that deposits paid before April 2007 are caught by the regulations if a new tenancy agreement is given to the tenant after that date.