A recent ruling by the Court of Appeal on a case involving tenancy deposit protection legislation could have costly implications for landlords.
In the case of Ayannuga v Swindells, the landlord had protected the deposit, but failed to issue all of the Prescribed Information. When the tenant allegedly fell behind on the rent, the landlord tried to obtain possession, but the tenant counter-claimed that the landlord had not provided all the Prescribed Information.
The landlord admitted this, but argued that the purpose of the legislation was to protect the tenant’s deposit, which he had done. He said the information which he had failed to supply was merely a technicality, as it was in the public domain and was easily accessible online.
The lower court agreed with the landlord and dismissed the tenant’s claim, but the tenant appealed. The Court of Appeal subsequently disagreed completely with the lower court, saying that the required information was of real significance, and not just a minor issue.
The appeal was therefore allowed, and the landlord was ordered to return the original deposit and pay a penalty equal to three times the deposit. The result of this decision is that landlords should regard the provision of all the required Prescribed Information as of equal importance to protecting the deposit itself. It also means that, should there be a minor omission in the information supplied to the tenant, then the tenant will have a defence to a S21 ‘no-fault’ notice requiring possession.
So, the Prescribed Information really does matter!