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Deposits – the White Book is wrong


The 2015 White Book, (the bible of the Civil Procedure Rules) contains a serious error in the sections on tenancy deposit claims under s.214 Housing Act 2004. It appears that the notes do not correctly deal with the effects of the Localism Act amendments, instead stating a position as if Hashemi and Tiensia still applied. Given the totemic status of the White Book, this has lead some District Judges to incorrectly dismiss claims. I understand the notes are to be corrected for the 2016 edition, but in the meantime, people should be aware of the problem. My thanks to Tom Royston of Garden Court North for alerting us and for the following case note highlighting the issue.

Seale v Armitage Residential Ltd A00BY153 (Designated Civil Judge HHJ Robinson, County Court at Sheffield, 1 June 2015)
A district judge had struck out T’s tenancy deposit claim on the ground that although L did not protect the deposit within the prescribed period, no cause of action existed because L had protected the deposit (and ended the tenancy) by the time of hearing .
The district judge had correctly noted that the White Book 2015 states

[3A-1621.1] … payment of a deposit into the scheme more than 14 days (or 30 days after the Localism Act amendment) after its receipt, but before a tenant commences proceedings, does not come within s.214(2)(a), and the court cannot make an order…

[3A-1627.3] … if a landlord is late in complying with the dual s.213 obligations, but does so before any s.214 proceedings are brought by the tenant, the tenant has no cause of action under s.214…

T argued that those passages of the White Book are wrong, in that they misrepresent the effects of s 184 Localism Act 2011, which from 6 April 2012 reverses the effect of Tiensia v Vision Enterprises Ltd [2010] EWCA Civ 1224, [2012] WLR 94 and Gladehurst Properties Ltd v Hashemi [2011] EWCA Civ 604, [2011] HLR 36.
The correct position is that where a landlord fails to comply with the initial requirements of a deposit scheme within 30 days of receipt, a claim may be brought, irrespective of whether the landlord has subsequently complied or the tenancy has ended.
HHJ Robinson granted permission to appeal. T’s appeal was subsequently allowed by consent, with L paying damages and costs.
Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.

1 Comment

  1. simplywondered

    Another reason I don’t usually refer to the White Book in possession claims (except for CPR55). Fortunately most DJs seem willing to accept Defending Possession Proceedings as Holy Writ (as they should). And encouragingly, when they don’t know, many are willing to ask counsel. Which I think helps.

    Helpful tip, though – had no idea it was wrong for the reason above!



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