What is an introductory tenancy?
A local housing authority (or housing action trust) may elect to operate an introductory tenancy regime (see Part 5 of the Housing Act 1996 (“HA 1996”)). An introductory tenancy is a probationary tenancy which allows a landlord to evict problem tenants more easily than they would be able to under a secure tenancy. If an authority is operating an introductory tenancy regime, then instead of granting secure tenancies, a new tenant will be granted an introductory tenancy.
A tenant or a licensee under a licence to occupy a dwelling-house can be an introductory tenant.
Under Section 124 of the HA 1996, if immediately before the tenancy was entered into the tenant or joint tenants were either:
- a secure tenant of the same or another dwelling house or
- a tenant under a relevant assured tenancy (i.e. an assured tenancy where the landlord is a private registered provider of social housing or where the landlord is a registered social landlord)
then they cannot become introductory tenants.
There are also certain rights to succession and assignment of introductory tenancies. Please see sections 131 to 134 of HA 1996.
How long does an introductory tenancy usually last?
An introductory tenancy lasts for a trial period of one year (unless any circumstances set out in section 125(5) of the HA 1996 apply during this period), extendable by six months after which the tenant will normally be granted a secure tenancy. The trial period can be extended by a further six months if:
- A landlord has served a notice of extension on the tenant at least eight weeks before the original expiry of the trial period and,
- Either the tenant has not requested a review of the landlord’s decision to extend the trial period, or if the tenant has requested a review, then the decision was to confirm the decision to extend the period.
How can a landlord bring possession proceedings?
A landlord may bring an introductory tenancy to an end by obtaining and executing a court order for possession of the dwelling house.
To gain possession of a dwelling house subject to an introductory tenancy, a landlord must follow certain procedural requirements as set out in section 128 of the HA 1996. If these requirements have been followed, the court must grant an order for possession if requested to do so (see section 127 of HA 1996). Although, this may be challenged by a tenant due to their rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.
However, note the impact of The Introductory Tenancies (Review of Decisions to Extend a Trial Period) (Wales) Regulations 2006 and the implications on notice periods and proceedings contained in the Coronavirus Act 2020 as updated by the Coronavirus Act 2020 (Residential Tenancies: Protection from Eviction) (No.2) (Wales) Regulations 2021, SI 2021/708 which came into force on 30 June 2021.
What effect will the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 have on introductory tenancies?
The law in relation to tenancies is due to change once the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 is brought fully into force. See: Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016.