Landlord's Compliance with Prescribed Information Requirements under Tenancy Deposit Schemes Clarified in High Court Decision

Citation: [2024] EWHC 646 (Ch)
Judgment on


The High Court of Justice’s decision in Merryck Lowe v The Governors of Sutton’s Hospital in Charterhouse [2024] EWHC 646 (Ch) is a significant case concerning the obligations of landlords to provide prescribed information to tenants under statutory tenancy deposit schemes. Mr Justice Adam Johnson’s detailed judgment clarifies the interplay between statutory requirements, the practical administration of tenancy deposits, and the latitude provided to landlords in conveying the necessary information to tenants.

Key Facts

Merryck Lowe, the appellant, was a tenant in Charterhouse Square under successive tenancies between 2010 and 2024. The case revolved around whether Lowe’s landlord, The Governors of Sutton’s Hospital in Charterhouse, complied with its statutory duty to provide Lowe prescribed information about the deposit Lowe paid, and the consequences of any non-compliance. The appellant argued non-compliance over several tenancies, seeking financial penalties.

A pivotal change occurred when Lowe’s contractual tenancy automatically transformed into an assured shorthold tenancy due to legislative changes in rent threshold, thereby invoking deposit protection requirements. The landlord initially provided information about the deposit scheme and related tenancy terms in September 2010, yet there were errors and omissions, including an unsigned certificate accompanying the prescribed information. These deficiencies underpinned Lowe’s appeal.

Several legal principles were pivotal in the adjudication of this case:

  1. Statutory Compliance in Tenancy Deposit Protection: The Housing Act 2004 sections 213 to 215 detail the statutory obligations of landlords regarding tenancy deposits, particularly the duty to inform tenants about the deposit protection scheme and tenancy terms concerning the deposit.

  2. Errors in Prescribed Information: The case underscores the principle derived from Mannai Investments v. Eagle Star that a reasonable recipient’s interpretation of information is pivotal. This principle was relevant in determining if the erroneous reference to a non-existent tenancy agreement clause was a substantial failure to comply with regulatory requirements.

  3. ”Substantially to the Same Effect”: The statutory language in the Housing Act 2004 allows a degree of flexibility in fulfilling statutory requirements. This principle is paramount in determining whether the landlord’s unsigned certificate could be considered compliance.

  4. Limitation Period for Claims: Claims for statutory penalties under the Housing Act 2004 are subject to limitation periods prescribed by the Limitation Act 1980. Distinguishing whether these fall under a 6-year or 12-year limitation period was a contentious issue addressed in the case.

  5. Court Discretion in Enforcing Section 214(3): The court analyzed the discretionary language “as it thinks fit” in Section 214(3) of the Housing Act 2004, relating to the court’s mandates when a landlord fails to comply with deposit information provisions.


The court upheld the trial judge’s decision, highlighting the following:

  • The prescribed information provided was construed as accurate despite the reference to an incorrect clause because a reasonable person in the tenant’s position would recognize the error and identify the correct tenancy agreement provisions regarding the deposit.

  • Regarding the unsigned certificate, provision of a covering letter was deemed “substantially to the same effect” as the statutory requirement, serving the statutory purpose of confirmation by the landlord.

  • The “original tenancy” deposit was interpreted broadly to encompass a deposit retained during transformations from contractual to assured shorthold tenancies by legislation.

  • The limitation period for claims related to statutory penalties was confirmed as six years.

  • The court held that judicial discretion allowed under Section 214(3) of the Housing Act 2004 granted flexibility to the court to avoid pointless orders that might not serve the statute’s intentions or the claimant’s interests.


Merryck Lowe v The Governors of Sutton’s Hospital in Charterhouse provides a crucial clarification on landlord obligations to inform tenants about deposit protections and confirms the duty’s strict but pragmatic application. The judgment reinforces the court’s broader interpretative approach to assess compliance with statutory notice requirements, advocating a focus on substance over form where the statutory purpose is served. It also emphasizes the courts’ discretion to navigate statutory obligations in a way that avoids absurd outcomes. This case serves as guidance for landlords and practitioners in fulfilling legal duties related to tenancy deposits within the framework of the Housing Act 2004.