There is an automatic three times penalty if a landlord/agent fails to comply with the tenancy protection requirements under the Housing Act 2004. This applies where the Landlord has failed to protect the deposit and/or failed to give the prescribed information. We believe that the prescribed information requirements should be simplified anyway. A tenant can apply to Court for a penalty but if the case for a penalty is made out the Court must require the landlord to pay the penalty. There is no power at all to mitigate the penalty. Thus, the same penalty applies even for a mistake in the content of the prescribed information or an accidental failure to protect the deposit, as against the case where a landlord has wilfully flouted the scheme. This is grossly unfair. We have the example of the case where a landlord thought she had protected the deposit but because of a mistake on the part of the merchant company the fee was not deducted. This meant that the deposit was not protected. The landlord did not realise this until she had actually received the claim for the three times penalty. There should always be power to mitigate any penalty to meet individual circumstances. The Housing Act 2004 should be amended as to give the Court discretion to mitigate penalties according to the circumstances.
Why does this idea matter?
The current system for penalties is unjust.