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Subject to finding parliamentary time, it is the Government's intention to amend legislation to ensure that Crown tenants (mostly tenants of Government Departments) are in general provided with the same statutory rights as the majority of tenants in the private sector.
Currently, most tenants in the private sector have assured shorthold tenancies. Assured shorthold tenants enjoy a minimum tenancy term of six months and the landlord may only seek possession on one of the grounds set out in legislation. The no-fault ground for possession gives landlords an automatic right to possession, provided the landlord has given the tenant at least two months' notice. However, an order for possession on this ground cannot be enforced during the initial six months or any fixed term period.
Crown tenancies are currently excluded from the assured tenancy regime. This means that the only statutory protection enjoyed by a Crown tenant is that provided by the Protection from Eviction Act 1977, which requires the landlord to give the tenant a minimum of 28 days notice. In both cases, the landlord needs to obtain an order for possession from the court.
There may of course be certain specific situations where there are compelling reasons why a Crown tenancy might need to be terminated after less than six months or with less than two months' notice being given. We intend to retain an exemption for Crown tenancies from the assured tenancy regime in limited circumstances, for example where occupants may need to be moved at short notice for military operational reasons.
The Government will of course consult on any proposed changes before bringing forward legislation. It is intended that any change to legislation would apply only to Crown tenancies granted after the date on which the amendment comes into force.