Tenancy agreement

The tenancy agreement is a legal contract between Crawley Borough Council and each tenant. It defines the rights and responsibilities of both parties.

It is important that you understand your tenancy agreement. If you break any terms of this contract, we may commence legal proceedings which could result in you losing your home.

Contact your Housing Officers or seek independent legal advice if there is anything you do not understand about your tenancy agreement.

Tenancy policy

Our tenancy policy gives our approach to the type of tenancy we offer and how we manage tenancies. It includes: 

  • the types of tenancy that we grant
  • the circumstances that we may grant certain types of tenancy
  • our approach to sustaining tenancies
  • incentives to encourage mobility and address under-occupation

Changes to our tenancy policy to end flexible tenancies

In March 2023 changes were made to our tenancy policy.

You can read our press release on these changes.

Letters have been sent to all tenants who have a flexible fixed term tenancy to explain the change in policy and what happens next. 

Information about the phasing out of flexible tenancies

What is a secure periodic tenancy?

Secure periodic tenancies are sometimes called “lifetime” tenancies because secure periodic tenants normally have the right to live in their homes for the rest of their lives. This is unless the tenancy ceases to be secure, such as if the tenant fails to occupy the property as their main and principal home or a court makes an order for them to leave, for example due to rent arrears or anti-social behaviour.

What is a flexible fixed term tenancy?

A flexible fixed term tenancy is a type of secure tenancy that lasts for a specified period. Until now we have usually offered flexible fixed term tenancies for a fixed period of five years, though in some cases flexible tenancies are offered for a fixed period of two years. At the end of the fixed term period a review is usually carried out before a decision is made to offer a further flexible tenancy for a further fixed term. 

The law allows us to serve notices on flexible tenants advising them that we do not intend to grant a new tenancy upon the expiry of a flexible tenancy. If we do this, then it is mandatory that the court grant us possession of the property. This is not the case for a secure periodic tenancy.

Where can I find out more information about the difference between flexible fixed term tenancies and secure periodic tenancies?

If you would like to read some more about flexible fixed term tenancies and secure periodic tenancies and their differences, you may find the following websites helpful:

Why has the council decided to stop offering flexible tenancies?

On 8 March 2023 we made changes to our tenancy policy to stop granting flexible tenancies. Our Cabinet made the decision to make this change to provide more long-term security to our tenants and to help create sustainable communities. 

You can read a copy of the tenancy policy under the tenancy policy heading on this web page.

Will changing my tenancy from a fixed term flexible tenancy to a secure periodic tenancy affect any rights I have to exercise the ‘right to buy’ my home or to mutually exchange my home?

No. Your ‘right to buy’ and right to mutually exchange your home will not be affected at all by the proposed change. 

Will there be any cases where a flexible tenant will not be offered a secure periodic tenancy?

There may be a small number of cases where we may decide it is not appropriate to offer a secure periodic tenancy. This would include cases where:

  • there has been a serious tenancy breach 
  • there are significant rent arrears and there is no agreement to clear the arrears in place
  • there is a current possession order that has been awarded by the court
  • we have, or are in the process of, applying to court to obtain a possession order

When will you contact me to change my tenancy to a secure periodic tenancy?

We are working to change over 2,000 flexible tenancies so it will take us some time to change all eligible tenancies. We will be contacting people in date order, with those whose current fixed term tenancy is due to end the soonest having their tenancy changed first. 

So, for example, if your current tenancy is due to end in the next 12 months it is likely we will contact you within the next year. Whereas, if your current tenancy is not due to end for three or four years, it is likely we will contact you at some point in 2024 or 2025. 

Can I ask that my tenancy is changed earlier?

No. We have to change the tenancies that are due to end sooner first as we cannot create further fixed term tenancies after 1 April 2023. We therefore need to work through the tenancies in date order.

If I mutually exchange my property before the change is made, will the person I exchange with get a fixed term tenancy?

If you mutually exchange your property, we will grant a secure periodic tenancy to the person you are exchanging with after the deed of assignment has been signed.

Do I have to accept an offer to grant a new secure periodic tenancy?

No. If you decide not to accept our offer, your flexible tenancy will continue until the end of its current fixed term. We will at that point then serve notices on you of our intention not to renew your tenancy, and we will then have the right to apply to the court for a possession order of your home.

How will you contact me when it is my turn to have my tenancy changed?

Your Housing Officer will contact you by phone to arrange a date and time to sign a new periodic tenancy agreement.

Can just one joint tenant sign the new tenancy agreement?

No. A joint tenancy must be signed by both joint tenants and so you both must attend the appointment to sign the new tenancy agreement.

I am a joint tenant, but the other joint tenant no longer lives at the property. What should I do?

We will need to speak to the other joint tenant to see what their intention is in relation to the tenancy. If both joint tenants cannot agree about what to do with the tenancy, your existing flexible tenancy will need to continue until its expiry date and at that point we may be able to offer one of you a sole tenancy of the property. If you do not want to wait for this to happen, you can make an application to the courts to make an order to resolve your existing tenancy; you should seek legal advice about doing this. If the courts make an order to award the existing tenancy to one of the joint tenants, then we could revisit the decision to offer you a secure tenancy ahead of the expiry date of your existing tenancy.

Can my tenancy be changed if I have rent arrears?

Yes, but we will only grant you a new secure tenancy if you give your written consent to transfer any arrears to your new tenancy. 
If you consent, then we will grant a new secure tenancy, but you will need to continue to pay your rent and arrears payments in line with any repayment arrangements in place.

Should I seek legal advice before making a decision on whether to accept a secure periodic tenancy in place of my existing flexible tenancy?

The aim of this change is to provide tenants with greater security of tenure. However, if you have any concerns you might want to seek your own independent advice from Citizens Advice or a solicitor.

For tenants who are still in the introductory period of their flexible fixed term tenancy we are changing their tenancy and have written to them. This is because the rules for changing tenancies are different for introductory tenancies and flexible fixed term tenancies. 

Tenancy agreements

Your tenancy agreement will depend on what type of tenancy you have, what the start date of your tenancy was and in some cases, your address if your home was built after 2015.

If you are unsure which tenancy agreement you have or you need a copy, contact your Housing Officer.

Secure tenancies

Most tenants whose original tenancy start date was before April 2013 and new tenants in sheltered are likely to have this type of agreement.

Variations of secure tenancy agreements for specific areas:

Flexible tenancies

Most tenants whose tenancy started after April 2013 will have this type of agreement.

Variations of flexible tenancy agreements for specific areas:

Homes with solar panels and electricity monitoring

From March 2015 to 1 June 2019 houses in Douster Crescent, Waterfall Crescent and Breezehurst Drive in Bewbush had an additional schedule added to their tenancy agreement to cover solar panels.

The following tenancy agreements contain schedules for solar panels and energy monitoring. These are used when homes have solar panels and/or energy monitoring equipment fitted. These include Lonsdale Court and Barnfield House.

Other agreements

You may have an Insecure Tenancy Agreement if we have accepted a homeless duty towards you but you have not yet been offered a permanent home.

You will have one of these if you have made a homeless application and have been offered accommodation in one of our temporary accommodation hostels.