About this blog

Accessible legal tips, know-how and news for anyone with a complaint or legal issue from Stephen Gold, author of The Return of Breaking Law, the book

Thursday 10 March 2022


The Supreme Court has now spoken in the matter of flexible tenancies (see my previous post here at https://www.breakinglaw.co.uk/search/label/flexible%20tenancies) and I warn you - it's a bit technical!  It has disagreed with the decisions reached by the lower courts.

The ruling is that a flexible tenancy landlord can take steps to terminate the tenancy early (before its fixed period has come to an end) on the basis of some default by the tenant provided that the tenancy agreement contains a forfeiture clause. In deciding whether there was a forfeiture clause, regard would be had to the substance of the words used rather than their form. The standard flexible tenancy agreement used by Croydon Council which was the landlord in the case did contain provisions which amounted to forfeiture clauses and the same standard agreement has been used by most -if not all - of the local authorities who between 2014 and 2018 granted an estimated 30,000 flexible tenancies. 

The Supreme Court also ruled that where a flexible tenancy agreement contained a break clause and no fault was being alleged against the tenant, then, provided the conditions for its exercise were satisfied, the landlord could take steps to exercise it and obtain possession before the end of the fixed term  This would be appropriate, for example, where possession was required so that the let property could be redeveloped.

Without a break clause (where no tenant fault) or forfeiture clause (tenant fault), the landlord looking to oust their flexible tenant will be stymied.