Sharon v Zmuda plus one other Clerkenwell & Shoreditch County Court [appeal heard 19 November 2009] 9EC02134

This is a case that is perhaps not of great importance, however, it provides a useful excuse if nothing else to explain the procedures involved for un-protecting a deposit mid way through a tenancy and the effects of such at any potential court hearings.

The landlord (Dr Sharon) granted an assured shorthold tenancy to the defendant on 10 January 2008 at a monthly rental of £1083.33. A deposit was paid on the same date. On or about 28 November 2008, the deposit was protected using one of the insurance based schemes and prescribed information provided. (Note: after 14 days).

After the defendant became in arrears with their rent, on 20 February 2009 a section 8 notice was served based on ground 8 (two months or more arrears) and ground 10. Court proceedings were then commenced.

An adjournment was ordered allowing the defendant to file a counterclaim and obtain an interpreter.

On 16 June 2009 (before the hearing) the landlord accidentally un-protected the deposit via the schemes website. Although the landlord had attempted to re-protect promptly, by way of a letter from the scheme, the deposit was considered re-protected from 30 June 2009.

On 26 June 2009, a trial was held. Part of the defence to the claim was that because the deposit had been un-protected, the defendant should be allowed to offset the compensation provisions against the rent thereby reducing the arrears below the two months threshold. (There was another alleged disrepair defence which was never accepted by the court at any hearing or on appeal).

The DDJ ordered possession by 17 July 2009 and gave judgement for the arrears and costs.

A warrant for possession was issued and after several applications for set aside and such, ultimately permission was granted for a late appeal.

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