Prescribed Information Needed for Tenancy Deposit Schemes
A recent Court of Appeal decision acts as an important reminder that a landlord must actually give a tenant all the information prescribed by a tenancy deposit scheme (TDS) and that it is not enough that the information is freely and easily available.
In Ayannuga v Swindells the landlord had placed the deposit in a TDS. The tenant fell into arrears and the landlord sought possession. The tenant asserted that the landlord had not complied with paragraphs 2(1)(c) to (f) of the Housing (Tenancy Deposits) Prescribed Information Order 2007.
The tenancy agreement dealt with the return of the deposit. As a result, the landlord argued that he had complied with paragraphs 2(1)(c) and (d) advising the tenant of:
- The procedures to repay the tenant at the end of the tenancy.
- The procedures where the landlord or tenant cannot be contacted.
He admitted that he had failed to comply with paragraphs 2(1)(e) and (f) and provide the tenant with details of:
- The procedures applicable when the amount to be repaid is disputed.
- The facilities for dealing with a dispute without litigation.
However, as this information was available on the TDS website, the landlord argued that, as the information was available, those paragraphs were largely procedural. The aim of the legislation was to protect deposits and that had been done.
The court found that:
- The requirements of paragraphs 2(1)(c) to (d) had not been satisfied. Whilst the tenancy agreement addressed the return of the deposit, it made no mention of the relevant procedures under the TDS.
- Paragraphs 2(1)(e) and (f) were more than matters of procedure and the legislation clearly specified that the landlord must provide the tenant with the information. The aim of the legislation was not only to protect the deposit but to encourage the resolution of disputes concerning deposits.
The landlord was as a result prejudiced, emphasising the importance of the prescribed information and the need for landlords to be meticulous when giving that information to tenants.