Secure tenancy suitable accommodation discretionary grounds

The court must be satisfied it is both reasonable to order possession and suitable alternative accommodation is available.

This content applies to England

Suitable alternative accommodation and reasonableness

If the landlord is using any of the the grounds set out below:

  • it must be reasonable for the court to grant possession, and

  • suitable alternative accommodation must be available.

For further information see Definitions of reasonable and suitable alternative accommodation.

Ground 12 – Tied accommodation

The property is:

  • part of, or is in the grounds of, a building used mainly for non-housing purposes, or

  • situated in a cemetery

This ground can only be used where the tenant (or the tenant's immediate predecessor) was housed in the property because of employment with either the landlord or a specified public body and the landlord needs the property to house someone else employed to do that job.

Ground 13 – Adapted accommodation

The property:

  • has been adapted or specially designed to accommodate a physically disabled person, and

  • has no-one living in it who is disabled, and

  • is needed by the landlord for someone who is disabled.

This ground can be used only where the design or adaptations make the property substantially different from other ordinary properties. Smaller changes such as the installation of a ground floor toilet would not be covered.[1]

Ground 14 – Special needs accommodation with housing association landlord

The landlord is a housing association or trust which only lets its accommodation to a particular group of people and either there is: 

  • no such person now living in the accommodation, or 

  • the tenant has had an offer of accommodation from a local housing authority and the dwelling is needed by the landlord for another such person

This ground is only likely to be used by particularly specialised housing associations.

Ground 15 – Special needs housing

The property:

  • is normally let as special needs housing, and

  • has no-one living in it with special needs, and

  • is needed by the landlord for someone with special needs.

The definition of special needs housing here is not restricted to properties intended for older people, but could include, accommodation for people who have mental illnesses or blocks specifically designed for single mothers.

Ground 15A - Under-occupation after succession

This ground cannot be used against the spouse or registered civil partner of the deceased tenant. It is currently unclear if ground 15A can be used where the successor was the deceased tenant's cohabitee.

This ground was inserted with effect from 1 April 2012. The previously applicable ground 16 could not be used by the landlord even when the tenant had deliberately concealed his mother's death for three years to avoid being moved to an alternative property.[2]

Timing

This ground can be used only where the notice of proceedings was served on the successor tenant more than six months, but less than 12 months after the ‘relevant date’, which is either the date of:[3]

  • the previous tenant's death, or

  • the date on which, in the opinion of the court, the landlord became aware of the previous tenant's death

Where no notice was served (i.e. the court dispensed with the requirement to serve it) or the notice is no longer current, possession proceedings must commence more than six months but less than twelve months of the ‘relevant date’ above.[4]

Court's discretion

Factors to be taken into account when determining whether it is reasonable to make an order are prescribed by statute, namely:

  • the age of the tenant

  • how long the tenant has been living in the property

  • the support the tenant gave to the previous tenant, and

  • other factors can also be taken into account such as whether there are any reasons for the tenant's attachment to the particular home or locality

If the court makes an order on this ground and the new tenancy to be granted to the successor is with the same landlord they remain a successor in relation to the new tenancy, as long as the new tenancy commences within 6 months of the date the original tenancy ended.[5]

In the event that family members move into an under-occupied property between the date of succession and the date of the hearing, the date for assessing 'whether accommodation is larger than is reasonably required by the tenant and their household' and 'whether the alternative accommodation is suitable for them' is the date of the hearing, not the date of the succession.[6]

Ground 16 (Wales only)

This ground, as amended by section 162 of the Localism Act 2011, remains available only in Wales from 1 April 2012.

Last updated: 22 March 2021

Footnotes

  • [1]

    Freeman v Wansbeck DC [1984] 2 All ER 746, (1983) 10 HLR 54, CA.

  • [2]

    Newport CC v Charles [2008] EWCA Civ 1541.

  • [3]

    ground 15A, Sch.2 Housing Act 1985 as inserted by s.162(2) Localism Act 2011; Brent LBC v Tudor [2013] EWCA Civ 157.

  • [4]

    ground 15A, Sch.2 Housing Act 1985 as inserted by s.162(2) Localism Act 2011; Yildiz v London Borough of Hackney [2019] EWCA Civ 1331.

  • [5]

    s.88(4) Housing Act 1985.

  • [6]

    Wandsworth LBC v Randall [2007] EWCA Civ 1126.