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Landlord or tenant ends a flexible tenancy

This content applies to England

How a flexible tenancy can be ended.

Termination by the tenant

A flexible tenant can terminate her/his tenancy by giving four weeks' written notice at any time.[1] The local authority landlord can agree to a shorter period of notice or to the surrender of the tenancy.

However, if the tenant is in rent arrears or otherwise in breach of the tenancy agreement, the tenancy will not end on the date set out in the notice or agreed by the local authority.[2] As such, it is advisable for tenancy agreements to include an express term which will allow for notice/surrender to be effective in the event that the tenant is in rent arrears/breach of the tenancy agreement.

Expiry of the fixed term

At the expiry of the fixed term, the local authority landlord must either:

  • grant a further flexible tenancy
  • grant a periodic secure tenancy, or
  • seek possession.

If the local authority does none of the above, a periodic secure tenancy will arise at the expiry of the fixed term.

Possession during the fixed term

The local authority landlord can recover possession by serving a valid notice of seeking possession (NSP) and by establishing any of the grounds for possession available against a secure tenant, provided that the tenancy agreement contains a  forfeiture or re-entry clause.[3]

It should be noted that the prescribed form of the NSP is not the same as that served on periodic secure tenants. For more information about the specific requirements and prescribed form for a valid NSP see Notices: Flexible tenancies.

The local authority should comply with the requirements of the Pre-action Protocol for Possession Cases by Social Landlords before pursuing possession proceedings on mandatory grounds or for rent arrears.

Court's powers

The court must award possession where the local authority has sought possession on the expiry of the fixed term of a flexible tenancy if the:[4]

  • fixed term has expired and no further tenancy has been granted, and
  • local authority served the correct notices (see Notices: Flexible tenancies).

The court may refuse to grant possession if the local authority failed to carry out a review that was requested in time by the tenant, or if the decision on review is wrong in law.[5]

The tenant may be able to raise a public law defence based upon conventional judicial review grounds or a breach of her/his human rights (for more information see Public law and human rights defences), or a defence based on unlawful discrimination (see Disability discrimination defences) or breach of the public sector equality duty (see Equality law).


The information on this page applies only to England. Go to Shelter Cymru for information relating to Wales.

[1] s.107C Housing Act 1985, as inserted by s.154 Localism Act 2011.

[2] s.107C(5) Housing Act 1985, as inserted by s.154 Localism Act 2011.

[3] s.82(3) Housing Act 1985; Croydon LBC v Kalonga [2020] EWHC 1353 (QB).

[4] s.107D Housing Act 1985, as inserted by s.154 Localism Act 2011.

[5] s.107D(6) Housing Act 1985, as inserted by s.154 Localism Act 2011.

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