£70 deposit paid in 1999 saves tenant from eviction
Our client occupied a room in a building containing 25 rooms with shared facilities for a kitchen The premises were run by the Polish Women’s Benevolent Association and the client first moved into the premises on or about September 1999 when she gave a deposit of £70 to the manager of the premises at the time.
In 2007 a second landlord took over the premises and the client was asked to sign a new tenancy agreement which she did. client refused to pay a deposit stating that she had already done so and that money should have been transferred to the new landlord.
From 2009 to 2015 a third landlord took over the premises and another tenancy agreement was signed. There was then a fourth landlord and finally a fifth landlord namely Akelius UK 12 Investments Limited who wanted to redevelop the premises. and wanted our client to be removed from the premises. Akelius issued accelerated possession proceedings and obtained an Order for Possession.
The client had nowhere to live and stayed put. The landlords obtained a Warrant of Possession and asked bailiffs to evict the client. The client contacted Moss & Co. We drafted a witness statement on behalf of the client and represented the client at a hearing to suspend the warrant and strike out the Possession Order.
The first hearing
Submissions were made to the judge that a deposit had been paid at the beginning of the tenancy. Therefore, the Possession Order should be set aside as the deposit was not protected as required by the Housing Act 2004 and the notice was invalid. The landlords referred to the tenancy agreement signed in 2007 which stated that there was no deposit. Importantly our client had a receipt for dating back to 1999. The landlords tried to say this was a holding deposit for the room and that the money would have then been used for her first month’s rent. The judge did not agree and set aside the Possession Order with an order for trial.
At the trial the Court heard evidence both sides. The landlord was not able to persuade the Court that the money that had been paid in 1999 was just a holding deposit. They could not produce any evidence that it had been used pay rent, nor had it been paid back to the client . The judge also accepted our client’s explanation that the reason that no deposit was written on a subsequent tenancy is because of previous deposit had been paid in 1999. The landlord’s claim for possession was dismissed and the landlord was ordered to pay the client’s costs. The client remained in the premises.