Flexible council tenancies

Some councils offer flexible tenancies for a fixed term. The council might not offer you another tenancy when it ends.

What is a flexible tenancy?

A flexible tenancy is a type of secure tenancy but it only lasts for a fixed period.

The council must tell you in writing that it is offering you a flexible tenancy before the tenancy starts.

If your council gives new tenants an introductory tenancy you might get a flexible tenancy once your 12-month trial period is over.

Use our tool to check your tenancy type

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.

Use the Gov.uk search to find your council's website

At the end of the flexible tenancy

When your fixed-term ends, the council can:

Your rights in a flexible tenancy

You have the same rights as a secure council tenant during your fixed-term.

How to end a flexible tenancy

You can end your flexible tenancy by giving four weeks' notice in writing.

If you have rent arrears or have breached your tenancy agreement you must check the agreement to see if you are allowed to end your tenancy.

You can ask the council to accept a surrender of your tenancy if your agreement doesn't allow you to end it by giving notice.

Consider your options before giving notice. If you give up a council tenancy it might be difficult to get another one.

Eviction rights

During the fixed term

You can only be evicted during the fixed term of your tenancy if your agreement says the council can end it early. 

Your council must give a legal reason, called a ground for possession.

These include if you:

  • haven't paid the rent
  • are involved in antisocial behaviour
  • rent out your home to someone else

The council must  follow the same procedure used to evict tenants from a secure council tenancy.

After the fixed term ends

If the council wants you to leave at the end of the flexible tenancy, it must give you 2 written notices before the 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.

If the council does not serve the correct notices before your flexible tenancy ends, you automatically become a secure tenant when the fixed term ends.

Get advice on eviction

Get advice immediately if the council threatens to evict you for any reason. Even if bailiffs are due, it might be possible to get the eviction stopped or delayed.

If you are on a low income you can get advice on eviction through legal aid.

Contact Civil Legal Advice on 0345 345 4 345 to see if you qualify

Shelter offers free housing advice regardless of your income:

Call our emergency helpline if you're threatened with eviction

Last updated 20 August 2020 | © Shelter

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