Court imposes maximum penalty over ‘minor’ omission of prescribed information

Court of Appeal imposes the maximum penalty on a residential landlord.

Recently the Court of Appeal has imposed the maximum penalty on a residential landlord who failed to produce the prescribed information to the tenant under the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.

The deposit had been properly protected and pretty much all of the prescribed information had been supplied, and the omitted information had been originally described as ‘minor’ and was initially dismissed by a judge. But The Court of Appeals later overturned the decision and awarded the full penalty to the tenant.

After the case the landlords lawyers stated that the landlord failed to provide the tenant with a copy of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme’s leaflet. Something that the tenant is freely able to get for themselves as well.

Landlords and agents have to provide a list of ‘prescribed information’ to all tenants, which covers standard information about how the relevant scheme operates. The Housing (Tenancy Deposits) (Prescribed Information) Order 2007 states the exact information required.

In this case, Ayannuga v Swindells, the landlord omitted to provide a few minor pieces of information that are listed in the prescribed information. The tenant argued that the landlord had failed to supply all the prescribed information, a claim which the landlord did not dispute, but argued in return that the requirement was a largely procedural one and that the deposit had been protected as the law required. The landlord also, rightly, stated that the tenant could have very easily found out everything he needed from the scheme’s administrator.

At the first hearing the landlord argued that he had provided most of the information and the judge agreed. The claim was dismissed but the tenant decided to appeal. The Court of Appeal then overturned the earlier decision and awarded the tenant the maximum compensation of three times the tenancy deposit.

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