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Effects of demotion

This content applies to England

This page looks at how demotion affects a tenancy.

Terms of the tenancy

All demoted tenancies are periodic, if the original tenancy was a fixed-term tenancy, the demoted tenancy will be a weekly periodic tenancy.[1] The landlord may specify terms of the original tenancy which are to apply to the demoted tenancy, but these can only be terms which already applied to the original tenancy.

Rent

The rent payable and the day on which rent is due remain the same when a tenancy is demoted. Any rent arrears payable on the original tenancy are payable under the demoted tenancy; equally any rent paid in advance (as most rent is) is carried over to the demoted tenancy.

Security of tenure

The security of tenure of all demoted tenants is substantially reduced for the duration of demotion. The level of security of tenure of a demoted tenant is similar to that of an introductory tenant (local authority/housing action trust tenants) or an assured shorthold tenant (private registered providers of social housing (PRPSH) tenants).

Possession

Social landlords should follow the Pre-action Protocol for Possession Cases by Social Landlords before pursuing possession proceedings

The landlord must obtain a possession order from the court, but s/he does not need to prove a ground for possession or that it is reasonable to make the possession order.

There do not need to have been further incidents of antisocial behaviour or nuisance for the landlord to get a possession order against a demoted tenant.

If the landlord follows the correct procedure the court must make the possession order (unless a PRPSH landlord has served notice under section 8 Housing Act 1988).[2] However, the Supreme Court has ruled that, in order to safeguard the occupier's Article 8 rights (to respect for the home: see the European Convention on Human Rights for further information), county courts are permitted to consider the proportionality of making a possession order, including the power to decide issues of fact.[3] A defence can now be raised, in the county court possession proceedings, that evicting the demoted tenant may not be proportionate to achieving the legitimate aim sought (eg preventing antisocial behaviour).

The Supreme Court also raised the possibility that if the court does not consider an outright possession order to be proportionate then it could postpone, suspend (perhaps pending an event, such as rehousing) or even refuse possession although this power may currently be at odds with some domestic law.[4]

For further information see the pages Ending an LA demoted tenancy and Ending a PRPSH demoted tenancy .

Succession, assignment and the right to buy

When a tenancy is demoted, the rights to succeed to or assign that tenancy and the right to buy may be altered for the duration of demotion, depending on whether the tenancy is a local authority/housing action trust demoted tenancy or a PRPSH demoted tenancy.

For further information see

Some PRPSH tenants have a preserved right to buy, on demotion this is lost.[5] It is not clear as to whether the tenant loses the right permanently or whether s/he regains the right after the end of the demotion period. Most sources concur that the right is lost permanently, in which case this would be a possible defence against the reasonableness of granting the demotion order.

Rights to repairs

The right to repair contained in section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 applies to demoted tenants. The landlord must keep the structure and exterior of the dwelling-house in good repair, and keep the installations in the dwelling-house for the supply of water, gas, electricity, sanitation, space heating, and heating water in good repair and proper working order.

Rights to information

Local authority landlords must publish information about:[6]

  • the terms of their demoted tenancies
  • the chapter in the Housing Act 1996, which was inserted by the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003, dealing with demoted tenancies, and
  • their repairing obligations.

Such landlords must also provide to each demoted tenant a copy of the published information and a written statement of any additional terms relating to that demoted tenancy, unless contained in the tenancy agreement or implied by law.

[1] s.82A(6) Housing Act 1985; s.6A(9) Housing Act 1988.

[2] s.143D(2) Housing Act 1996 and Civil Procedure Rules Part 55.

[3] Manchester City Council v Pinnock [2010] UKSC 45.

[4] s.89 Housing Act 1980.

[5] s.171B(1A) Housing Act 1985.

[6] s.143M Housing Act 1996 as inserted by Sch.1 Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003.

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