Landlord and Tenant CasesRulings and decisions being made which have an impact on current law

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Summary of the outcome of some landlord and tenant cases

  • Siveter v Wandsworth | 16th February 2012 | LBC [2012] EWCA Civ 351Read case details...
    landlord/tenant law - infestation

    The claimant was a council tenant. Her home was rendered uninhabitable by an infestation of poultry mites. She claimed that the mites had spread from a pigeon's nest resting on a cupboard outside her flat, into the cupboard and through an opening into her flat. The council had arranged to have the nest removed, but the cupboard itself had not been inspected or sprayed. The judge rejected a claim that the landlord was liable for compensation on the basis that the council had acted reasonably in removing the nest and spraying the area even though it had not sprayed inside the cupboard.

    The Court of Appeal allowed an appeal and remitted the case to the county court for the assessment of quantum. The expert evidence was that, in addition to the nest removal, the cupboard should have at least been inspected and, probably, treated. It was inevitable and foreseeable that if left uninspected and untreated, the infestation would migrate from the cupboard and throughout the flat.

    Landlord's remember if you are undertaking work regarding removing infestations at your tenant's home then make sure that you pay a bit extra and get a thorough job done or you could be bitten with a claim for damages resulting from nuisance.

    Originally reported by Beatrice Prevatt in the December 2012 Legal Action.

  • Woolf v North London Homes | 19th April 2012 | Shoreditch County CourtRead case details...
    landlord/tenant law - damp

    Disrepair and Damp in rented properties - a landlord's obligation in respect of dealing with disrepair was considered.

    The claimant was an assured shorthold tenant of a two-bedroom flat in the attic of a house from 28 November 2008, but left in January 2011. She complained of disrepair from the commencement of the tenancy, including a leak to the bath, a leaking toilet and a burst pipe, and an intermittent hot water supply. These defects were remedied, but from 2009 onwards there was a bad smell of damp, the front door would not lock properly, the bathroom window was rotten and a pane fell out, the roof was leaking and the building suffered from subsidence. The defects were confirmed by the evidence of an environmental health officer and the tenant's surveyor. The landlords defended the claim on the basis that the tenant had refused access and made various allegations against her, including that she was an alcoholic, had deliberately damaged the property, kept dogs at the property, left vast quantities of nappies outside the premises and had caused the attendance of the police.

    All of these allegations were rejected by the judge, who found that there was significant disrepair from the time when the claimant moved in, which worsened over time until March 2010 when the claimant's surveyor inspected. During 2009, the premises had defective windows and were subject to damp. The judge awarded damages at 20 per cent of the rent of £1,450 per month for the 15 months from the beginning of the tenancy until March 2010, and 30 per cent of the rent for the eight months thereafter, making a total of £7,830 for disrepair. She also awarded £2,500 in respect of special damages on the basis that the claimant had suffered some loss; however, the Judge she did not accept some of the more exotic items in the schedule of special damages for which the claimant had no receipts. Total damages awarded were, therefore, £10,330.

    So Landlords remember it could be an expensive lesson if you do not deal with your Tenant's reasonable request to deal with any disrepairs at the property you are letting.

    Originally reported by Beatrice Prevatt in the December 2012 Legal Action.

  • Suurpere v. Nice | 27th July 2011 | High Court of JusticeRead case details...

    Ms Suurpere was granted an Assured Shorthold Tenancy by Mr and Mrs Nice and paid a deposit of £500. However the landlords protected the deposit late and failed to serve notice on Mrs Suupere in accordance with section 213(5) of the Housing Act 2004. The Landlords in fact relied on the standard letter of registration of the deposit sent out by the Deposit Protection Service to the tenant on receipt of the deposit sum. The information being forwarded in this format was not considered to be adequate under the Act.

    It has been established that the information must be provided by the landlord personally, certified by them as correct and must include all of the particulars required by the Housing (Tenancy Deposits) (Prescribed information) Order 2007. The landlords had not done this by the date of the hearing and were required to pay three times the deposit sum counterclaimed by Mrs Suupere.

    An appropriate standard form for the provision of the statutory information can be found at the Deposit Protection Service.

  • Owolabi v Bello | 29th June 2011 | Court of AppealRead case details...

    We don't have a full report for this case which is a shame as it sounds rather entertaining. It involves a claim for possession and a counterclaim for damages for unlawful eviction. The landlord's behaviour must have been pretty bad as the judge awarded the defendant £13,000 damages! Interestingly, the judge also made an award in respect of the deposit and ordered that the deposit be repaid together with the penalty payment of three times the deposit sum. The landlord tried to appeal the decision to the Court of Appeal but they refused to accept the case, as her appeal apparently consisted of attackng the judge's findings of fact. Any appeals to the Court of Appeal can only be based on a mistake in law, not a mistake in fact.

  • Draycott v Hennells Letting Ltd | 2010 | EWHC 217 (QB) Read case details...

    This was an appeal by Hannells from a Circuit Judge decision. The Draycotts had entered into a 12-month AST with Derby Build Ltd (the landlords) on 28 February 2008. A deposit of £2,700 was paid to the agents, Hannells, who, according to the tenancy agreement, were to hold the deposit as stakeholder. The deposit was credited on 4 March 2008. The deposit was not registered with the DPS until 19 May 2008 and the Draycotts informed of the details on 21 May 2008. On 27 November 2008, the Draycotts brought a claim under s.214 Housing Act 2004 on the basis that the deposit had not been registered and prescribed information had not been given within 14 days of it being received. The claim was brought against the agents.

    On appeal, the High Court decided:

    That an agent can be pursued for the 3 x deposit penalty under s214 if the deposit is unregistered; and
    The penalties under s214 take effect after a failure to comply with the 14 days requirement only if the deposit is unregistered when the claim comes to court
  • Baafi v Map | 24th June 2010 | Central London County CourtRead case details...

    A landlord had sought a possession order on the basis of a section 21 notice. The tenant defended the claim on the basis that the landlord had not properly complied with the requirements of the Housing (Tenancy Deposits) (Prescribed Information) Order 2007. He also counter-claimed for the now-customary penalties. The landlord had registered the deposit with the MyDeposits scheme and provided the tenant with their standard form of certificate. This certificate contains a paragraph making clear that the MyDeposits certificate does not, on its own, supply all the information required by the Order. Specifically, it fails to notify the tenant of the procedure to be followed where the landlord or agent cannot be contacted after the end of the tenancy and also fails to inform the tenant of the circumstances under which the landlord will make deductions from the tenancy deposit. Normally, MyDeposits would expect these matters to be dealt with in the tenancy agreement.

    The landlord had used an old form of agreement which did not include the items missing from the certificate. Initially the Judge dismissed the tenant's claim.

    On appeal it was held that the statutory framework was clear and ordered that the Possession order be set aside and counter-claim allowed.

    It is necessary for a tenancy deposit taken prior to the introduction of the tenancy deposit protection scheme to be placed into TDS on the renewal of a tenancy.

  • Hashemi & Johnson v Gladehurst Properties Ltd | 9th December 2009 | Clerkenwell & Shoreditch County Court
    Read case details...

    The tenancy agreement had implied that the deposit would be registered but it required the Claimants to request this and pay an additional administrative fee. They did not do so and the deposit was never registered. The Claimants vacated the property in 2008 and after the Defendant made deductions from their deposit they commenced a claim for the return of the deducted money plus the normal three times the deposit figure.

    This case is interesting in respect of the argument that the tenant can only claim during the lifetime of the tenancy, which was dismissed; the suggestion by DJ Stary that a tenant should not deliberately wait until after the end of the tenancy to 'ambush' the landlord with a claim, also dismissed; and finally the suggestion that where there are joint tenants they must make the claim together, a point which was not decided due to the involvement of the second tenant by the time of the appeal but one which has apparently swayed judges in other County Courts.

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