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Security of tenure: Restricted contracts

This content applies to England

Security of tenure of tenants with restricted contracts.

Restricted contracts have the limited protection of the Protection from Eviction Act 1977, requiring the landlord to serve a notice to quit and obtain a court order before evicting. Occupiers may also be able to take advantage of the additional rights outlined below to extend a notice to quit or suspend a possession order.

The Equality Act 2010 may provide a defence to a tenant with a 'protected characteristic' (ie disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy or maternity, race, sex, sexual orientation, and religion or belief) who is subject to possession proceedings.[1]

For more information see the section on Equality law and the Disability discrimination page in relation to tenants with disabilities.

Contracts made before 28 November 1980


After receipt of a notice to quit or a notice of revocation of a licence, the tenant or licensee (except where the contract was granted by an owner occupier)[2] could apply to the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber)[3] (before the expiry of the notice) for a postponement of the notice for up to six months.[4] If a postponement was granted, the tenant could apply for an extension. Once any extension of security had expired or if none had been applied for, the landlord could apply to court for a possession order.

Fixed term

The landlord could only get possession during the fixed term if the tenant had broken one of the terms of the agreement and the agreement specified that possession could be sought for that reason. The First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) could not delay possession proceedings so after the expiry of the fixed term, the landlord could obtain a mandatory possession order from court.

Contracts made after 28 November 1980

The role of the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber) concerning extension of security was abolished by the Housing Act 1980. The court now has the power to suspend a possession order for up to a maximum of three months.[5] This power applies to both fixed term and periodic contracts. The requirement for a valid notice to quit for periodic tenants and licensees remains.

[1] ss.33(1) and ss.38 Equality Act 2010.

[2] s.105 Rent Act 1977.

[3] Tribunal Procedure (First-tier Tribunal) (Property Chamber) Rules 2013 SI 2013/1169; the First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal (Chambers) (Amendment) Order 2013 SI 2013/1187. 

[4] s.104 Rent Act 1977.

[5] s.106(a) Rent Act 1977, as amended by s.69(2) Housing Act 1980.

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