Flexible council tenancies

What is a flexible tenancy?

A flexible tenancy is a type of secure council tenancy.

It only lasts for a fixed period of time.

The council can decide not to offer you another tenancy at the end of the fixed term.

You have the same rights and responsibilities as other secure tenants during the fixed term.

How long a flexible tenancy lasts

Flexible tenancies usually have a fixed term of at least 5 years.

The council decides how long the fixed term lasts. The fixed term could be for as little as 2 years if there is a reason for it to be shorter. Examples include if you have a history of rent arrears or antisocial behaviour.

The tenancy offer should be in line with your council's policy. This should be set out in a document called a tenancy strategy - available at the council's housing office or on its website.

You can ask for a review of the length of the tenancy offered if it is not in line with the council's policy.

Eviction during the fixed term

You can only be evicted during the fixed term if your tenancy agreement has a forfeiture clause or break clause that says the council can end the fixed term early. 

If the council uses a forfeiture clause, they must apply for a termination order as well as a possession order. They can apply for both at the same time or apply for a termination order first.

The council needs a legal reason for eviction, called a ground for possession. For example:

  • rent arrears

  • antisocial behaviour

The council must follow the same eviction process as for other secure council tenants.

In most cases, the court will only make a possession order if it is reasonable so you will get a chance to show you should not be evicted

Staying in your home when the fixed term ends

Towards the end of your fixed term tenancy, the council can offer you either:

  • another flexible fixed term tenancy

  • a periodic secure tenancy - sometimes called a lifetime tenancy

They could also give you notice if they decide not to renew your tenancy.

If the council does none of these things, you automatically become a periodic secure tenant when the fixed term ends.

If the council decides not to renew your tenancy

The council must give you 2 written notices before your fixed term ends.

1.  A 6 month notice of non renewal which:

  • tells you that the tenancy will not be renewed

  • sets out the reasons why

  • states that you have 21 days to request a review of the decision

2. A 2 month notice stating that the council requires possession.

If you don't leave when the notices end, the council can apply to the court to evict you. The court must make a possession order if the council has served the correct notices and followed the correct procedure.

Get legal advice if you're facing eviction from a council tenancy.

Last updated: 23 May 2022

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