Harvey v Bamforth – request for further information

Harvey v Bamforth, Sheffield County Court, Estates Gazette, 23 Aug, 2008, pg 22.

The introduction of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (“TDS”) was one of the more positive reforms to housing law in recent years. It has previously been discussed by NL here and here, by Housed here and here and by Landlord Law here, all of which are worth a read and, helpfully, save me from having to say much about the scheme.

In the Harvey case, it appears that the landlord had taken a deposit and had placed it in one of the prescribed schemes, but had failed to provide the prescribed paperwork to the tenant, detailing where the deposit was held, etc. The District Judge found this to be a breach of TDS provisions and awarded the mandatory damages of 3 times the value of the deposit. The landlord had, however, provided the relevant paperwork once the tenant issued proceedings.

The landlord appealed to the Circuit Judge (HHJ Bullimore), who reversed the decision of the District Judge. As best as I can tell, the Circuit Judge took the view that provision of the prescribed information at any stage prior to the hearing was sufficient to comply with the requirements of the TDS and, hence, that no damages were payable.

The landlord was funded by the Residential Landlords Association, whose press release can be found here. I’ve written to the RLA to see if there is a transcript but we here at the NL team would be very interested to hear from anyone who was involved with this case.

[For all tenancy deposit case posts click here]

About J

J is a barrister in London. He loves service charges and all things leasehold law related. He also likes beating rogue landlords and mortgage companies.
Posted in Assured Shorthold tenancy, Deposits, Housing law - All and tagged , , .

18 Comments

  1. I must admit that my reading of the press release was that the deposit scheme submission and statutory information were put in place by he landlord before the tenant’s claim was issued. But I could well be wrong. So that what the appeal to a CJ suggests is just that late compliance, at least pre-issue, avoids the mandatory award. But it isn’t clear, so further information is certainly welcome.

  2. The EG doesn’t go into very much detail, but the press release says “[t]he Sheffield case… concerned a landlord’s agent registering a deposit with the TDS / Dispute Service Scheme but not giving the tenant the prescribed information within the statutory 14 days. It was only provided after possession proceedings had started”

    More information would be very welcome!

  3. The press release is as confusing as the legislation. I don’t really understand why possession proceedings were mentioned!

  4. I suppose because the landlord shouldn’t have been able to serve a valid s.21 notice while the deposit wasn’t protected and notification given. But maybe it wasn’t a s.21. Who knows.

  5. @Francis Davey: Thanks, that makes things a bit clearer. It looks like the only issue was whether compliance (with deposit or provision of statutory info) pre-issue of the tenant’s claim/application meant the mandatory award did not apply. I’m not surprised that the finding was that it doesn’t.

    What isn’t clear is whether the possession claim in which all this came up was based on an s.21. If it was, surely a strikeout application was in order?

    As for the County Court – sure an authoritative judgment would be nice, but County Court is all we’ve got on an issue affecting many thousands of tenants.

  6. Reading the part of Francis Davey’s link where it says

    ‘The case started as the landlord initiated possession proceedings for rent arrears, during which the omission came to light’

    I guess it was a section 8 notice with whatever rent unpaid grounds.

    Wonder what happened with costs.

  7. This is an interesting case. There are several issues here which differ from other cases.In this instance the landlord/agent had registered the deposit within the timescale. What had not happened was the notification to the tenant. In other cases the landlord/agent attempted to protect the deposit when a dispute had arisen. As has been said it would also appeaer to be a Section 8 not a Section 21 Action. It would appear certainly appear that a landlord could be taking a huge risk relying on this decision. Protect it and advise the tenant still has to be the safest answer.

  8. I agree with everyone that we need more information about how this legislation works. I have several customers who are using my kit 2 to bring a compensation claim for the ‘fine’ of 3 x the deposit money. It is not clear whether their landlords will be able to defeat their claim by paying the money into a scheme and notifiying the tenant after the issue of proceedings.

    It is all highly unsatisfactory. I would not have thought that Parliament would have intended landlords to be able to defeat claims in this way, otherwise many landlords will routinely fail to protect, and just do so if their tenants issue proceedings!

  9. I have been promised a transcript very shortly. Once it arrives, the NL team will be able to answer all your questions. Or, at least, all the ones relevant to this case.

    Greetings from a tropical island.

    J

  10. This case is mentioned by Mark Loveday in his Bricks and Mortar column in The Times today.

    The only other report I’ve found is Stankova v Glassonbury Legal Action June 2008 p31. Unfortunately it is not clear whether there had been late compliance by the LL to enable service of s.21 notice. If there had been then this is the opposite view to H v B albeit at DJ level.

  11. I have a case where the tenant’s deposit was overlooked by the client. Client (a landowner with a significant portfolio) was with TDS and subsequently found that he could not protect it that way – apparently TDS will only accept deposits within 14 days of the tenancy. The client paid it into the Statutory scheme DPS immediately this failure was brought to his attention. We confirmed this to the tenant prior to the tenant issuing proceedings, even printing out a copy of the DPS certificate and sending it to Tenant. Tenant has now sued and I am applying to strike out the claim.

    I can’t access the SJ article from your link. Could you please let me have a reference so that I can look it up elsewhere. Also I would be very grateful for a copy of the judgment if it’s available
    Many thanks
    Simon Parrott

    • Evening Simon

      Are you the same Simon Parrott involved in a case in Bedford County Court on 28 October 2008 to do with the TDS, which you won. If it is would be most grateful for a copy of the transcript, as have been searching fruitlessly for ages.

      Many thanks

      Tony

  12. Hello, Message to NL, could you also provide me with a copy of the judgement or advise where I can obtain one. This information is uregently required as I have a similar situation to deal with.

    Many Thanks,

    Steve

  13. Pingback: Harvey v Bamforth - now with the benefit of a transcript

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