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High Court upholds decision not to impose deposit penalty on landlord

May 7th 2024

The High Court has upheld a judge’s decision not to impose penalties on a landlord after a tenant complained that he had not been provided with information about his tenancy deposit as required under the Housing Act.

Laura Murphy, Paralegal in our Dispute Resolution team reports on this recent case.

The case involved Mr Lowe and the Governors of Sutton’s Hospital in Charterhouse.

The issue involved confusion over clauses in the 2010 tenancy agreement relating to the tenancy deposit. The agreement referred to the information being detailed in Clause 6. This was an error as there was no Clause 6 and the relevant information was contained in Clause 5.3.

The County Court dismissed the claim on the basis that the error was obvious, and the tenant would easily have been able to find the relevant information.

The High Court agreed and held that: “A reasonable person in the position of Mr Lowe would have appreciated that the Prescribed Information Document contained an error: and obviously so, because it referred to Clause 6 of a different tenancy agreement altogether than the one he in fact had.

“The same reasonable person would have understood…that the required information (as to the circumstances in which the whole or part of the deposit may be retained by the landlord) could be found in a corresponding term in the tenancy agreement he did have. It would not have taken long to find it, in cl. 5.3.”

The High Court also upheld the decision that the information in the tenancy agreement “satisfied the statutory requirement, which was to notify the tenant of the circumstances in which all or part of the deposit might be retained by the landlord”.

The appeal was dismissed.

If you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of residential property law please contact Laura on 01228 516666 or click here to send her an email.

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