What is a demoted tenancy?
Demotion orders were introduced by the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 which inserted section 82A into Housing Act 1985 (the “HA 1985”) and section 6A into the Housing Act 1988. The effect of a demotion order is that a secure tenancy or assured tenancy is ended and is replaced by a demoted tenancy. In the case of a former secure tenancy, the tenancy is demoted to a tenancy with equivalent status to an introductory tenancy. In the case of a former assure tenancy, the tenancy is demoted to a tenancy with equivalent status to an assured shorthold tenancy.
When can a demotion order be ordered?
Under section 82A of the HA 1985 and 6A of the HA 1988 (both amended by Schedule 11 of the Anti-social Behavior, Crime and Policing Act 2014), a demotion order can only be ordered by a county court if it is satisfied the tenant, or a person residing in or visiting the property, has engaged, or threatened to engage in:
- conduct that is capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to someone (who does not need to be a particular identified person) and that directly or indirectly relates to or affects the housing management functions of the landlord ; or
- conduct that consists of or involves using housing accommodation owned or managed by the landlord for an unlawful purpose; and
- it is reasonable to make the order.
Demotion orders can be applied for by:
- a local housing authority
- a housing action trust
- a private registered provider of social housing a register social landlord
A landlord must serve a notice on a tenant stating that it plans to apply for a demotion order. If this has not been done, or if it is incorrect, the court can opt to dispense with this requirement if it considers it to be just and equitable to do so.
The procedural provisions relating to demoted tenancies can be found in Part V of Housing Act 1996 (“HA 1996”).
What is the effect of a demoted tenancy?
A demotion order terminates a tenancy from the date specified in the demotion order. The tenant can remain in occupation of the dwelling house and any arrears of rent payable at the termination of the secure tenancy become payable under the demoted tenancy. A demoted tenancy will generally last for one year, unless any of the circumstances contained in Section 143(B) of the HA 1996 apply. At the end of this 12 month period, the demoted tenancy will revert back to a secure tenancy unless the provisions of section 143B (1), (2) and (3) HA 1996 apply.
There are certain succession and assignment rights in relation to demoted tenancies; see sections 143H to 143K of HA 1996.
How can a landlord bring a demoted tenancy to an end?
The landlord may bring a demoted tenancy to an end by obtaining and executing a court order for possession of the house, see sections 143D-143G of the HA 1996.
Section 143D of the HA 1996 provides that the court must grant an order for possession if it thinks the relevant procedural requirements under sections 143E and 143F of the HA 1996 have been followed. Although, this may be challenged by a tenant due to their rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.
What effect will the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 have on demoted tenancies?
The law in relation to tenancies is due to change once the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 is brought fully into force.