Wealden District Council

Types Of Tenancy & Related Rights & Responsibilities

The Council currently offers four different types of tenancies:

  • Non Secure Tenancies
  • Secure Tenancies
  • Introductory Tenancies
  • Flexible Fixed Term Tenancies

Non Secure Tenancies

Non-secure tenancies are sometimes given when a homeless household is placed in temporary accommodation owned by the Council by virtue of Homelessness legislation. Once permanent housing is found an Introductory followed by a Flexible Fixed Tenancy or secure tenancy will be given.

What Rights do Non Secure Tenants Have?

Non-Secure tenancies do not have all the rights that secure tenants have including no:

  • Right to Buy
  • Right to Exchange
  • Right to Succession
  • Right to Take in Lodgers or to Sublet

Ending a Non Secure Tenancy

In order to terminate, and gain possession of, a non-secure tenancy, the council is not required to prove any statutory ground. All that is required is for the council to serve on the tenant a valid Notice to Quit. Following which, a claim for possession may be brought. The tenancy will subsequently end on the date specified in the court order for possession.

Secure Tenancies

A secure tenancy is now only given to those that move (either by way of a transfer or mutual exchange) and were a Secure Council Tenant or an Assured Housing Association Tenant at their previous property before the move took place.

What Rights do Secure Tenants Have?

Presently, as a secure tenant you can live in your home for the rest of your life as long as you comply with your tenancy agreement. Secure tenants (along with Flexible Fixed Term Tenants) have a number of rights which other tenants do not have including:

  • The right to exchange your home with another Council or housing association tenant provided you have obtained prior written consent from the Housing Services or housing association (your future landlord)
  • Subject to eligibility you may have the Right to Buy your council home
  • The right to make improvements to your home, provided you have obtained prior written consent
  • Right to assign the property (give it to someone else) or apply for a transfer
  • Right to take in lodgers, sub-let all or part of their property
  • Right to carry out any improvements/alterations with the Council's written permission

Ending a Secure Tenancy

Secure tenancies can only be ended by a court order, following a court hearing to look at the reasons behind the breaches of tenancy.

Introductory Tenancies

All new Council tenants will be given an introductory tenancy if you have never been a Council or Housing Association tenant before, or you have had a break in your former Council or Housing Association tenancy.

An introductory tenancy lasts for 12 months, after which time you will become a Flexible Fixed Term tenant, unless the council take court proceedings to end the tenancy or extend it due to unsatisfactory behaviour/rent arrears.

What Rights do Introductory Tenants Have?

The Housing Act 1996 (as amended) sets out introductory tenant's rights which include:

  • The right for someone to succeed your tenancy provided that person meets certain condition
  • The right to have certain repairs to the property carried out
  • The right to be consulted on housing matters and kept up to date about any changes that affect introductory tenancies

What rights do Introductory Tenants not have?

  • You do not have the right to buy your property
  • You cannot apply for a transfer to another property
  • You cannot transfer your property by way of assignment or mutual exchange
  • You cannot take in lodgers
  • You cannot sub-let all or part of your property
  • You cannot carry out any improvements/alterations to your home
  • You do however acquire these rights when your introductory tenancy becomes a secure tenancy

There are 3 possible outcomes at the end of your introductory tenancy period:

  1. You will be made a Flexible Fixed Term tenant
  2. Your introductory tenancy will be extended
  3. Steps will be taken to end your tenancy

Extending an Introductory Tenancy

If the Council decide to extend your introductory tenancy by six months we will serve you with a notice of extension at least 8 weeks prior to the original expiry date of the introductory tenancy. You can request, within 14 days an oral or written review of our decision to extend your introductory tenancy period.

Ending an Introductory Tenancy

If the Council has evidence that you have broken your tenancy agreement, we will first try to solve the problem with you. If the problem continues or is so serious that we decide to end your tenancy, we will serve you with a notice of our intention to apply to the court for possession.

Within 14 days of us serving this notice you have a right to request a review of our decision either by written representation or by way of an oral hearing. Where we decide to proceed with court action to recover the property provided that the court is satisfied that the correct procedure has been followed a possession order will be granted.

Flexible Fixed Term Tenancies

All new tenants following the expiry of their Introductory Tenancy will receive a Flexible Fixed Term tenancy (except those that are living in sheltered housing or bungalows who receive a secure tenancy).

You have a right to request a review of the length of the term (the 5 year period) of your tenancy. The sole ground for such review is that the length of the term does not accord with the Council's policy. Please note that the Council's tenancy policy states that flexible tenancies will be granted on a 5 year term.

What rights do Flexible Tenants have?

As a flexible tenant your rights are the same as the rights of a secure tenant (see above).

What Happens on expiry of a Flexible Tenancy?

On expiry of the 5 year fixed term the Council will review your circumstances 9 months before your tenancy is due to end and decide whether to:

  1. Grant you a new flexible tenancy for a period of 5 years at your existing property
  2. Grant you a new flexible tenancy for a period of 5 years at a new property more suitable to your needs
  3. To take steps to end your flexible tenancy

When reviewing whether or not to renew your tenancy for another fixed term. The Council will take into consideration the following:-

  • Whether you are able to afford a housing solution in the private sector
  • Whether your household is under occupying the present property
  • Whether there has been any breach of your tenancy conditions (regardless of whether any formal action has been taken in respect of that breach)
  • Whether the property is still suitable for your needs
  • Whether the property has been identified to be redeveloped or demolished

This is not an exhaustive list and each case will be assessed on its own merits and you will have the opportunity to seek a review of a decision not to grant you a further tenancy at your current property.

The Right to Review the Council's Decision not to grant another tenancy

If a decision is made not to grant another tenancy you may request a review of that decision. Your application for a review must be made in writing within 21 days from the date the six month notice was served upon you informing you that the Council would not grant you a new flexible tenancy. There is certain information that it must contain Localism Act 2011 (link to external website)

The Ending of a Tenancy by a Tenant

If you wish to bring your tenancy to an end you must give the Council at least 4 weeks written notice.

The Ending a Flexible Tenancy

The Council can only bring a tenancy to an end by: -

  • Forfeiture of your tenancy for example, if you have not paid your rent or breach your tenancy agreement, and then obtaining an order for possession from the County Court
  • Obtaining an order for possession at the end of your fixed term. Once a flexible tenancy has expired the Council are entitled to possession and a court must make a possession order, provided:

That the Council has given the tenant not less than six months written notice which: -

  • states that the Council does not propose to grant another tenancy on the expiry of the flexible tenancy, and
  • sets out the reasons for not proposing to do so, and
  • informs the tenant of the right to request a review of the council's proposal, and
  • the time within which such a request must be made, and
  • that the landlord has then given the tenant not less than two months notice in writing stating that it requires possession of the property