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Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003

Schedule 1: Demoted Tenancies

190.Schedule 1 makes amendments to the Housing Acts 1985 and 1996 relating to demoted tenancies.

191.Paragraph 1 inserts new Chapter 1A into Part 5 of the Housing Act 1996. New section 143A of the Housing Act 1996 sets out the conditions for a demoted tenancy to which new Chapter 1A applies:

  • the landlord must be a local housing authority or housing action trust;

  • the tenant must occupy the dwelling-house as his only or principal home, or, where there are joint tenants, each must be an individual and at least one of them must occupy the dwelling-house as his only or principal home; and

  • the tenancy must have been created by a demotion order.

New section 143B sets out the duration of a demoted tenancy. A demoted tenancy will normally remain a demoted tenancy for one year, at which point it will become a secure tenancy. However, if the landlord issues a notice of proceedings for possession during the first 12 months of the demoted tenancy, the tenancy will remain a demoted tenancy beyond the initial 12-month period until one of the events in subsection 143B(4) occurs. Specific provisions also apply if either of the first or second conditions in section 143A is no longer satisfied or the tenant dies. For example, if the tenant no longer occupies the property as his only or principal home, it will cease to be a demoted tenancy and will become a non-secure public sector tenancy which may be ended by a notice to quit.

192.New section 143C makes provision for a change in the status of a demoted tenancy if, during the demotion period, the landlord’s interest in the housing stock of which the dwelling-house forms part is transferred and the new landlord is neither a local housing authority nor a housing action trust (HATs). New sections 143D to 143F describe the process by which a demoted tenancy can be ended. The court must award possession, unless the landlord has failed properly to follow the procedure set out in sections 143E to 143F. The procedure is similar to that for ending introductory tenancies as set out in the Housing Act 1996.

193.The landlord must first serve a notice of proceedings on the tenant. The notice must contain the information prescribed in subsections 143E(2) and (5). The court will not hear proceedings begun on or before the date specified in the notice.

194.New section 143F requires the landlord to review a decision to seek possession if asked to do so by the tenant within 14 days from the date when the notice of proceedings for possession was served. The Secretary of State is given the power to make regulations with regard to the review procedure to be followed. After the review has taken place, the landlord must inform the tenant of its decision (giving reasons) before the date stated by the landlord’s notice on which possession proceedings may be begun.

195.New section 143G allows possession proceedings to be continued if, for example, there is a change of landlord. It also provides that a demoted tenant will not have the right to buy unless the proceedings are determined and the tenant is not required to give up possession. In this case the tenant would become a secure tenant and so the right to buy would apply.

196.New sections 143H to 143J set out what happens to the tenancy if a demoted tenant dies during the demotion period. If the tenant was a successor in relation to the secure tenancy which preceded the demoted tenancy (or to the demoted tenancy itself) there is no further right of succession. If the tenant was not a successor then there may be one succession to a person qualified to succeed under new section 143H(3). New section 143J defines "successor" for these purposes.

197.New section 143K provides that a demoted tenancy cannot be assigned apart from by an order of the court in specified matrimonial or family proceedings. New section 143L ensures that demoted tenants may benefit from the right to repair as set out in section 96 of the Housing Act 1985.

198.New section 143M gives demoted tenants the same rights to information published by the landlord as secure tenants. New section 143N provides that the county court has jurisdiction to determine proceedings brought before it regarding demoted tenancies. If a person decides to take proceedings in the High Court that could have been heard in the county court under new section 143N, that person is not entitled to recover any costs related to that action.

199.New section 143P describes who counts as a member of a person’s family for the purpose of succession to a demoted tenancy. The concept of an enduring family relationship includes established heterosexual, lesbian or gay unmarried couples.

200.Paragraph 2 of Schedule 1 makes consequential amendments to the Housing Act 1985.

201.Paragraph 2(2) amends section 105 of the Housing Act 1985 to give demoted tenants the same rights as secure tenants to consultation on matters relating to housing management.

202.Paragraph 2(3) amends section 171B of the Housing Act 1985 to remove the preserved right to buy on demotion.

203.Paragraph 2(4) amends Schedule 1 of the Housing Act 1985 to add demoted tenancies to the list of tenancies that are not secure tenancies.

204.Paragraph 2(5) amends Schedule 4 of the Housing Act 1985 to ensure that if a demoted tenant subsequently becomes a secure tenant and thereby entitled to the right to buy, time spent as a demoted tenant will not count towards the qualifying period for the right to buy or towards the level of discount to which he is entitled under the right to buy provisions.

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