As is so often the case, a number of students in a shared house were not given their deposit back by their landlord when they moved out after the end of the 12 month tenancy agreement. The landlord said that the students had damaged the property – a claim that the students denied.
As the landlord had not protected the deposit correctly, he was not entitled to the benefit of any deposit taken. So, irrespective of whether there was any truth to the landlord’s claim that the students had damaged the property, the landlord was legally required to refund the full deposit and was also required to pay the mandatory statutory penalty to the students.
The landlord was poorly advised by his own solicitors and after the matter had been heard by a judge he was ordered to refund the full deposit, pay three times the amount of the deposit as a penalty and to pay the legal costs incurred.
We believe that student tenants are very vulnerable to the actions of unscrupulous landlords and the success of this case led to further successful instructions from students and, hopefully, better treatment for students going forward.