Residential Landlord Pays for Ignorance of the Law

Rules relating to the protection of deposits paid by residential tenants are complex and ignorance of the law can have serious consequences. In one case, a landlord who failed to meet his obligations was refused a possession order and hit with a £1,600 penalty.

The landlord took an £800 deposit from a flat tenant before the latter moved in. He failed to protect the deposit within an approved scheme within 30 days of receipt, as required by the Housing Act 2004. He also failed to provide the tenant with prescribed information before the 30-day deadline.

In refusing to grant a possession order in respect of the flat, a judge ruled that such a step was precluded by the landlord’s breaches of the deposit protection rules. Noting that he was a professional landlord who should have been fully aware of the law, the judge ordered him to repay the £800 deposit, plus a penalty of twice that sum.