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Tiensia v Vision Enterprises Ltd (t/a Universal Estates)

Tiensia v Vision Enterprises Ltd (t/a Universal Estates) [2010] EWCA Civ 1224

Court of Appeal: Thorpe, Sedley and Rimer LJJ

This was a test case on the operation of the tenancy deposits scheme under Part 6 of the Housing Act 2004. Since April 2007 landlords have been required to protect a tenant's deposit under one of the government's authorised schemes and to serve prescribed information on the tenant about this. If they fail to do so, the tenant may bring an application in the county court under section 214 which, if the court is satisfied of non-compliance, will result in sanctions including an order to pay the tenant a sum equivalent to three times the deposit.

By a majority, the Court of Appeal decided that, despite the wording in section 213 of the Act requiring landlords to comply with the initial requirements of such a scheme within 14 days of receipt of the deposit, a landlord who failed to do so was not subject to the sanctions for non-compliance in section 214 if it had protected the deposit late.

The Court decided that the latest date by which the landlord could comply with the requirements to avoid the sanctions was the date of the hearing of the tenant's application for those sanctions. Further, it was held that a provision in the relevant scheme itself requiring the deposit to be protected within 14 days after receipt would not affect the outcome.

Sedley LJ dissented, saying that the landlord's interpretation would "eviscerate" the statute.

Matt Hutchings represented the successful landlord, Universal Estates.