Acting on behalf of a tenant arguing an s21 notice

Lavinia represented a tenant in a case involving argument over the return of a deposit and whether an s21 notice had been correctly served.

Her client’s argument was that their landlord had failed to give them the prescribed information relating to their deposit. Therefore the landlord could not serve an s21 notice unless they paid back the deposit in full or with agreed deductions, as per the s215 (2A) Housing Act 2004.

In this particular case, the landlord had returned the deposit and the notice simultaneously. Lavinia represented the tenant and made submissions that the s21 was defective. Her detailed case preparation highlighted several County Court decisions in order to argue that s215 (2A) should not bite until the deposit is returned, and only then could an s21 notice be served. Under the statute law there was no provision for a simultaneous action.

The District Judge commented that this was a very fine area of law, and that, whilst in principle the deposit had to be returned before an s21 notice was served, the landlord had returned the deposit on the same day at the same time. The tenant had suffered no hardship. However the District Judge did not award costs and was satisfied on hearing submissions regarding exceptional hardship to allow six weeks.