Possession of family intervention tenancies

The requirements and process for a local authority or PRPSH to terminate a family intervention tenancy.

This content applies to England

Local authority termination of a family intervention tenancy

A local authority must serve a written notice of intent on the tenant, informing them of the right to request a review before the local authority serves a notice to quit to end a family intervention tenancy (FIT).

Possession would normally be sought where the household has refused to accept the support outlined in their behaviour support agreement and there has been no significant change in their behaviour. Possession proceedings may also be started for other reasons, such as non-payment of rent, although the guidance suggests that this should be 'extremely rare' as the household will be in receipt of intensive support.[1]

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

Rent arrears and debt respite breathing space

Landlords and lenders are prohibited from giving a notice and issuing a claim for possession or from applying for a warrant of eviction on the basis of rent arrears, during a breathing space moratorium.

Rent arrears and debt respite breathing space

Landlords and lenders are prohibited from giving a notice and issuing a claim for possession or from applying for a warrant of eviction on the basis of rent arrears, during a breathing space moratorium. For more details, see Breathing space debt moratorium and possession proceedings.

Notice of intent

A local housing authority must not serve a notice to quit on a tenant with a FIT unless they have served notice of intent on the tenant, and one or more of the following applies:

  • the tenant has not requested a review within 14 days beginning with the service of the notice

  • any request to conduct a review has been withdrawn

  • the local authority has served a notice on the tenant informing the tenant of the review decision and the reasons for it[2]

The notice of intent given by the local authority will contain the following:

  • a statement that the authority has decided to serve a notice to quit on the tenant

  • the effect of serving a notice to quit

  • the reasons for the authority's decision

  • when the authority is intending to serve the notice to quit

  • that the tenant has the right to request within 14 days, a review of the authority's decision[3]

Review procedure

The reviewing officer must not be a person who was involved in the original decision to serve a notice to quit, and must hold a more senior position in the authority than the officer who made the original decision.[4] The tenant can request a review by oral hearing or by written representation.

How to request an oral hearing

If the tenant wants a review by oral hearing then they must request it within 14 days of receiving the notice of intent. Within 21 days of receiving the notice of intent, the tenant must send to the local authority:

  • a copy of any written evidence they will rely upon; and

  • the name and address of any person they intend to call to provide evidence

Where the authority receives information from the tenant, and wishes to respond, it must send its response to the tenant within 14 days of receipt of the information. The oral hearing cannot take place before this period has ended.

The oral hearing

The authority must give seven days notice of the oral hearing to the tenant and any person who has provided behavioural support services to the tenant. The tenant can be accompanied or represented by another person. 

At the hearing the authority, the tenant or the tenant’s representative must be given equal opportunity to:

  • make representations;

  • call persons to give evidence; and

  • put questions to any person who gives evidence

If any person who has been involved in providing behavioural support services to the tenant wishes to give evidence, they must be allowed:

  • to give evidence; and

  • to answer any questions put to them

The tenant must be notified in writing of the decision within seven days of the end of the hearing.

Absence of the tenant

If the tenant, or the tenant’s representative, does not attend a hearing after being given notice of its date, the authority may either proceed with the hearing or give directions on the further conduct of the review (within seven days of the end of the hearing). A decision may be reached in the absence of the tenant.

Adjournment

The hearing can be adjourned at the request of the authority or the tenant. The tenant must be given reasonable notice of the date, time and place of the adjourned hearing. Where the reviewing officer at the adjourned hearing is not the same individual who heard the earlier hearing, the review must proceed as a complete rehearing unless the authority and tenant agree otherwise.[5]

Criteria for written hearings

A review by written representation will take place where the tenant has:

  • requested a review by written representations

  • not requested a review by oral hearing, or

  • requested a review by oral hearing but has not done so within the time limit of 14 days of receiving the notice of intent

Within 21 days of receiving the notice of intent the tenant must send the local authority any evidence they wish to be taken into account. Where the authority receives information from the tenant, and wishes to respond, it must send its response to the tenant within 14 days of receipt of the information.

The review

When reviewing the original decision to serve a notice to quit, the review must take account of:

  • the notice of intent

  • any evidence submitted prior to the hearing

  • any representations received from any person providing behavioural support to the tenant, and

  • any other information considered to be relevant

The tenant must be notified of the review decision in writing within either.

  • 28 days of the serving of the notice of intent – if the tenant did not submit evidence prior to the hearing

  • 14 days of the submission of the tenant's response – if the tenant did submit evidence and the local authority responded to it

  • 28 days of the authority receiving the evidence – if the tenant did submit evidence but the authority did not submit a response to it[6]

Termination by private registered providers of social housing

Possession would normally be sought where the household has refused to accept the support outlined in their behaviour support agreement and there has been no significant change in their behaviour. Possession proceedings may also be started for other reasons, such as non-payment of rent, although the guidance suggests that this should be 'extremely rare' as the household will be in receipt of intensive support.[7]

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

How to terminate

A family intervention tenant (FITs) only has the basic protection provided under the Protection from Eviction Act. They can be terminated by the landlord serving a minimum of 28 days' notice to quit. If the tenant fails to vacate a property after the expiry of the notice to quit, the landlord must then apply to the County Court for a possession order.

Review of the decision

There is no statutory requirement for a landlord to offer the tenant a review of their decision to serve a notice to quit.

Government guidance states that it expects private registered providers of social housing (PRPSHs) to give families the opportunity to address the reason why their tenancy is being terminated before serving a notice to quit, unless it is inappropriate. The draft guidance also expresses a view that PRPSHs may wish to offer a tenant the opportunity to review in order to ensure that the decision to terminate the tenancy is well-founded.

Public law defence

The court could have the power to assess the proportionality of making an order on human rights grounds or to consider a public law defence on conventional judicial review grounds. When it is not open to the court to consider such a defence, the tenant could ask the court to adjourn proceedings to enable an application for judicial review to be made.

Last updated: 25 March 2021

Footnotes

  • [1]

    paras 37/38 Guidance on the use of Family Intervention Tenancies, January 2009.

  • [2]

    s.298(1) Housing and Regeneration Act 2008

  • [3]

    s.298(2) Housing and Regeneration Act 2008.

  • [4]

    reg 3 Family Intervention Tenancies (Review of Local Authority Decisions) (England) Regulations 2008 SI 2008/3111.

  • [5]

    Sch.1 reg 4 Family Intervention Tenancies (Review of Local Authority Decisions)(England) Regulations 2008.

  • [6]

    reg 5 Family Intervention Tenancies (Review of Local Authority Decisions)(England) Regulations 2008 SI 2008/3111.

  • [7]

    paras 37/38 Guidance on the use of Family Intervention Tenancies, January 2009.