Demoted housing association tenancies

Your tenancy can be demoted if you behave antisocially, making it easier to evict you in future.

Do you have a demoted tenancy?

Your housing association can ask the court to demote your tenancy if you or someone living with you has been involved in antisocial behaviour.

You probably have a demoted tenancy if:

  • you used to have an assured or secure tenancy
  • the housing association got a demotion order from the court
  • less than a year has passed since the order was made

The housing association and court should have confirmed your demotion in writing and sent you details of your rights. Check this information.

Court action

The housing association has to get a court order if it wants to demote your tenancy.

It usually has to start the process by giving you a written demotion notice. This explains why it is applying for a demotion order and when court action will begin.

The housing association must give you at least two weeks' notice. However, if the court believes that your behaviour was exceptionally bad, the housing association may not have to give you any notice before it goes to court.

What the court can decide

Your case goes to court for the judge to decide what to do.

The judge only agrees to demote your tenancy if it is reasonable to do so and if you or someone who lives with you or visits you regularly has:

  • behaved antisocially
  • threatened to do so
  • used your home for illegal activities such as drug dealing

The housing association should then give you a written tenancy agreement explaining the rights and responsibilities you have during the demotion.

Your rights

A demoted tenancy gives you fewer rights and less protection from eviction than you had when you were an assured or secure tenant.

Demoted tenancies usually last for one year unless:

  • the housing association starts court action to evict you during the 12 months
  • you leave your home (in which case you will lose the tenancy)
  • the court overturns the order (for example, if the judge believes that it should not have been made in the first place)
  • you die and no one is entitled to take on the tenancy

If there are no problems during that time, you are automatically given a new assured tenancy. This applies even if you had a secure tenancy before your tenancy was demoted.

You cannot be given a new secure tenancy.


You can be evicted from a demoted tenancy much more easily than from a secure or assured tenancy.

The housing association doesn't have to prove a legal reason in court. It just has to follow the correct procedure to evict you.

Rent and rent increases

Your rent will be the same as it was before your tenancy was demoted.

Your tenancy agreement should explain how and when your rent can be increased. In most cases, your rent is increased once a year and you are given at least four weeks' written notice.

If you claim benefits or are on a low income, you may be able to claim housing benefit or the universal credit housing costs element to help pay your rent.


You're responsible for repairs to internal decoration and fixing any damage you cause.

The housing association is usually responsible for most repairs to your home, including any problems with the roof, guttering, windows, doors and brickwork.

It also has to make sure that your plumbing, gas and electricity are working safely.

Report a problem to the housing association immediately if your home needs repairs.

If the housing association plans to do major work, it should consult you before the work begins. You may have to be rehoused.

Right to buy your home

You will lose any preserved right to buy if your tenancy is demoted by the court and will not regain this right even if your tenancy becomes assured again at the end of the demotion period.

Lodgers and subtenants

You don't usually have the right to take in a lodger or sublet part of your home while your tenancy is demoted.

You can be evicted very easily if you sublet your home or take in a lodger without written permission from the housing association.

Transfers or exchanges

You won't normally be able to exchange your home or get a transfer while your tenancy is demoted.

When your tenancy becomes assured again, you can apply for a transfer or exchange.

What happens to your tenancy if you die

If you have a joint demoted tenancy, the other joint tenant automatically takes over the tenancy when you die.

If you are not a joint tenant, your tenancy can be passed on to your spouse, civil partner or partner. Your tenancy agreement may also allow your tenancy to be passed on to a member of your family.

This process, called succession, can happen only once.

Passing on your tenancy in your lifetime

You can't pass on - or assign - a demoted tenancy to a new tenant until your demotion ends unless it's done as part of divorce or other family proceedings.

Complaints about demoted tenancies

Use the housing association's official complaints procedure if you feel that it has failed to fulfil its responsibilities or isn't treating you fairly.

Problems with demoted tenancies

Get advice immediately if you are having problems with your demoted tenancy for any reason. Don't wait. You could risk losing your home.

Use Shelter's directory to find face-to-face advisers in your area

Last updated 10 Jun 2015 | © Shelter

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