PDA

View Full Version : Tenancy Deposit case- tenant awarded damages and 3x



Planner
15-04-2008, 20:11 PM
Here it is, (thank Joa Conssumer Action forums)

TENANCY DEPOSIT CASE (S213 HA 2004)

Stankova v. Glassonbury 10th March 2008, Gloucester County Court

The claimant Ms Stankova is from Bulgaria and took a private tenancy with Mr Glassonbury on 1.8.07. She was a joint tenant with her daughter and another tenant (unknown to her before start of tenancy).

The tenants jointly paid a deposit of £600 in order to move in. The landlord did not notify any of the tenants that he had deposited the money in any of the statutory Schemes at any time.

There were various problems with the landlord and he served notice on 2.10.07. The notice was defective. The third tenant moved out of property shortly afterwards and the three tenants made arrangements about how the deposit would be dealt with on its return.

On 28.10.07 the landlord entered the property and removed a carpet and the fireplace from the lounge making it unusable and also pulled the extractor fan out of kitchen leaving a hole in roof. The Council dealt with the harassment. The landlord promptly served a further notice November 2007 under s21 which was on the face of it a valid notice.

Ms Stankova moved out in Feb 2008. She made a claim under the Housing Act 2004 against the landlord for his failure to notify her within 14 days of how he would deal with the deposit and which scheme he was using.

The landlord submitted various arguments against the claim; that the tenant owed some rent arrears, that he had now placed the deposit in a scheme and that there was damage at the property for which he would wish to withhold some or all of the deposit.

At the hearing of the matter District Judge Singleton ordered the landlord to pay £1800 +£75 costs in respect of three times the deposit plus the court fee.

In awarding the monies, the judge accepted the tenant’s argument that the award was a strict liability penalty, and that consequently there was no provision for counterclaim for outstanding rent arrears or other arguments about the return or retention of the deposit on the basis that a statutory scheme included arbitration for disputed about returning or retaining deposit monies.

Comment: In giving his decision the judge expressed concern that ‘it goes against the grain’ and advised the landlord to take legal advice as to whether he could delay the 14 days in which he must pay the claimant.

Colincbayley
15-04-2008, 20:23 PM
Excellent stuff, I have copied your post into an email for my tenant ( Case being heard 30th April )
Will post outcome when known.

Thanks for the post, great morale boost!

Planner
15-04-2008, 20:34 PM
Would be interesting to see Paul F take on this as he was adamant that no claim could be made after the end of a AST.

I will try and get details of which route was followed (N1/N208).

Colincbayley
15-04-2008, 20:41 PM
Must admit, I couldn't see where he was coming from with that view. But hey-ho, we live and learn.

Bel
16-04-2008, 08:16 AM
Of course at county court level this does not set a precident as we all know judges get it wrong.

But I am pleased for the tenants.

agent46
16-04-2008, 09:09 AM
Some discussion on this case at housepricecrash.co.uk: http://www.housepricecrash.co.uk/forum/index.php?showtopic=65430

davidjohnbutton
16-04-2008, 09:10 AM
When will we see legislation then that permits landlords to charge 3x outstanding rent as a penalty in the same way as a tenant can effectively charge 3x deposit if the landlord does not comply with the TDS.

Even the judge in this case says "It goes against the grain". Some poor sod is going to be paying out a lot of money before this ends up as a precedent. Also, the 3x is a strict liability penalty, so the landlord cannot offset any arrears of rent or damage against the penalty award. So the tenant can effectively smash the place up before leaving and still get his 3x penalty and then go to ground so the landlord cannot issue a separate claim against him/her.

As landlord we are so often reminded not to include unfair contract terms, including penalties, into our agreements - so why have not the OFT gone against this legislation which allows penalties?

Colincbayley
16-04-2008, 09:19 AM
As landlord we are so often reminded not to include unfair contract terms, including penalties, into our agreements - so why have not the OFT gone against this legislation which allows penalties?

Because the TRUE reason for the TDS is not to protect tenants from all us greedy LL's. The REAL reason is so that the government ( HMCR ) can access the data held by the schemes and then cross check to see if all taxes have been paid.

Hence, you pay your taxes ( Which we all should anyway ) or HMCR don'thave to worry about chasing you up, as the good old tenant will do it for them and get paid for the job!!

THEY HAVE ALREADY STARTED TO DO THIS !!!!!!

davidjohnbutton
16-04-2008, 09:35 AM
But the big hole, really massive hole, in that argument, is that all the landlord has to do to avoid the TDS is to simply not take a deposit, or to take 2 months rent in advance.

The revenue use lots of different ways to target landlords who are nt declaring for tax - newspaper adverts, shop window adverts, the HB/LHA system, people shopping people etc.

Colincbayley
16-04-2008, 09:38 AM
But the big hole, really massive hole, in that argument, is that all the landlord has to do to avoid the TDS is to simply not take a deposit, or to take 2 months rent in advance.

Correct, but just think how many LL's will get 'caught out' !

Just seems a nice, cheap and easy way to collect tax.

cas84_utd2
17-04-2008, 12:05 PM
I want to read around this and will post a more in depth reply tonight...

First thing I notice is that you stated the court fee was £75 - that would suggest N1 to me, as N208 is a flat fee of £150.

leigh123
18-04-2008, 04:49 AM
This is wonderful news! And it's come just in time - I am in court this very afternoon with my N208 claim I'll post here this evening with the outcome of the hearing!

cas84_utd2
18-04-2008, 09:21 AM
I'm eagerly awaiting your outcome leigh - this is a case where you are still in tenancy and the landlord subsequently protected the deposit (after you issued the claim), correct?

If so, that's identical to my case... also N208... very interested in your outcome.