Demoted council tenancies

The council can ask the court to demote your tenancy if you behave antisocially. This is makes it easier to evict you.

What is a demoted tenancy?

If you have been involved in antisocial behaviour and you have a secure or flexible tenancy, the council can get an order from the court to demote your tenancy.

The council will monitor your tenancy closely while you are a demoted tenant.

It's easier for the council to evict you during this period so it's important to avoid antisocial behaviour and pay your rent.

Your rent will be the same as it was before your tenancy was demoted. The council will still be responsible for most repairs.

Get help if the council want to demote your tenancy.

How your council tenancy can be demoted

The council must give you:

  • at least 4 weeks’ notice in writing on a special form

  • reasons why it's applying for a demotion order

The council have 12 months from when the notice expires to apply to the court to demote your tenancy.

What happens in court?

The council must prove that you, a household member or a visitor to your home has:

  • behaved antisocially in the area or to council staff

  • used your home for illegal activities such as drug dealing

You can tell the court why your tenancy should not be demoted. For example, if the behaviour complained about has not been repeated or the person responsible for the behaviour no longer lives there.

The court will decide whether to demote your tenancy based on the evidence they have.

A housing adviser may be able to help you prepare for the court hearing.

How long does a demoted tenancy last?

Your tenancy is demoted for 12 months.

After this you automatically become a secure or flexible tenant again unless the council has taken steps to evict you. The council must give you written notice if your tenancy will go back to being a flexible tenancy.

If the council gives you a possession notice during the demotion period, the demoted tenancy can continue beyond 12 months until the court considers the possession claim.

Right to buy your home

The right to buy your home is suspended until your tenancy becomes secure or flexible again.

Time spent as a demoted tenant does not count towards the 3 year qualifying period you need to buy your home under the right to buy scheme.

Transfers and exchanges 

You won't be able to swap homes with another council or housing association tenant while your tenancy is demoted.

You can apply for a transfer to another property but your council's rules may disqualify you while your tenancy is demoted.

The rules should be explained in your council's allocations policy on their website.

What happens to the tenancy if you die?

If you have a joint tenancy, the other joint tenant automatically takes over the tenancy if one of you dies.

If you're the only tenant, the tenancy can pass to your spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner if they've lived with you for at least 12 months.

If you don't have a partner, the tenancy can pass to a close family member who has lived with you for at least 12 months.

Find out more about this process, which is called succession.

If a demoted tenancy passes to a partner or another family member, it will remain demoted until the end of the demotion period.

It will become secure or flexible again as long as the council has not taken steps to evict.


Use the council's complaints procedure if you feel the council has failed to fulfil their responsibilities or aren't treating you fairly.

Eviction from a demoted tenancy

You can be evicted quite easily if you break the terms of your tenancy, for example because you haven’t paid your rent or have behaved antisocially.

1. Notice to leave

You’ll get 4 weeks’ written notice of possession that explains why the council want to evict you.

You don’t have to leave when the notice expires.

2. Review of the decision

You can ask the council to review their decision to evict you. You must do this within 14 days from the date when the notice was served.

3. If the council apply to court

The council must apply to the court for a possession order. They can do this after:

  • the notice period has expired

  • they have made a review decision, if you asked for a review

If the council don't apply to court within 6 months of giving you notice to leave, your demoted tenancy becomes a secure or flexible tenancy again.

4. Possession order

The possession order gives the time and date you’re meant to move out. This will normally be 14 days after the hearing.

You can ask for up to 6 weeks if having to leave earlier would cause you hardship.

5. Eviction by bailiffs

If you stay past the date on the possession order, the court can apply for a bailiff’s warrant and then send bailiffs to evict you.

Find out more about eviction by bailiffs

Last updated: 24 January 2019

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