Here is a question to the blog clinic from Michael who is a landlord:
I have served a notice to quit on a tenant today citing rent arrears due to the tenant being affected by a shortfall in the payment being made by housing benefit, as result of recent government policies, designed to “cleanse“‘ the poor from Central London
My question is this: IF the tenant is able to clear the arrears and bring the account up to date, am I obliged to cancel the notice? If not will the matter be thrown out by the Court IF at the point of appling to the Court for the possession order there are no rent arrears.
I have also failed to adhere to tenancy deposit regulations.
You don’t cancel the notice but it is unenforceable if the rent arrears are paid. The mandatory rent arrears ground is made out if the tenant is arrears of rent at the date the notice is served AND at the date of the court hearing. No Judge is going to make an order for possession on the basis of rent arrears that have since been paid.
However the notice (assuming it is a section 8 notice you have served) will remain enforceable for 12 months. So if you serve it in January, the tenant clears the arrears in March but falls into arrears again in September, you will still be able to use the notice to base a court claim for possession. Assuming the tenant does not clear the rent arrears again.
I am a bit concerned that you refer to the notice as a notice to quit. I have been assuming here that you have served a section 8 notice which is the correct notice to serve on assured shorthold tenants for rent arrears. There is another notice called a Notice to Quit but this cannot be used for ASTs (it is used for protected and unregulated/common law tenancies). So if this is the notice you have served it will be unenforceable.
As regards the deposit, you should protect this IMMEDIATELY. New regulations are coming in next month and if it is still unprotected at the end of April (2012), you will have no defence to a claim by your tenant for the penalty payment (of between one and three times the deposit sum) under the rules. This could wipe out your rent arrears claim.
If YOU have a problem, why not put it to the blog clinic? However there are a lot of questions submitted and not all get answered. If you need an answer quickly remember that members of my Landlord Law service can ask me questions in the members forum area, and will normally get an answer with 24 hours.