What is an introductory tenancy?

Introductory Tenancy Agreement 44864413 s 146x219LexisPSL Public Law, in partnership with Chris Bryden of 4 King’s Bench Walk analyse the key features of introductory tenancies.

 

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Introductory tenancies under the Housing Act 1996

The Housing Act 1996 (HA 1996) introduced the concept of the introductory tenancy for local housing authorities (LHAs) and housing action trusts, with the statutory framework set out in HA 1996, Pt V, Ch 1 (Conduct of Tenants).

The purpose of the introductory tenancy is to enable a social housing provider to elect to operate a scheme whereby any new tenancy is not secure rather operating as a probation period for the tenant. The main distinction between a secure tenancy and an introductory tenancy is that unlike a secure tenancy where a social housing provider may obtain possession only on relatively narrow grounds, for ‘the trial period’, an introductory tenancy is amenable to possession proceedings without the need to prove any grounds. The policy behind the reform was to reduce the risk to public sector housing providers of being left with difficult tenants who had security of tenure and were hard to remove if they engaged in antisocial behaviour.

The election to operate an introductory regime applies to all tenancies granted by the electing housing authority. The election can be revoked at any time.

The trial period is a period of one year, though by HA 1996, s 125A the trial period may be extended by six months. This may occur if both of the following conditions are satisfied:

- the landlord has served a notice of extension complying with all the statutory formalities, including informing the tenant of the right to request a review of the decision, on the tenant at least eight weeks before the original expiry date of the introductory tenancy

- and either the tenant has not requested a review under HA 1996, s 125B or, if they have, the decision on the review was to confirm the decision to extend the trial period

A landlord may only bring an introductory tenancy to an end by obtaining an order for possession and the execution of the order; the tenancy ends when the order is executed.

 A court will make an order for possession upon a claim by the landlord provided that notice has been given in accordance with HA 1996, s 128 (a section 128 notice). The notice must state that the court is asked to make an order for possession; the reasons for the decision to apply for the order, and the date after which proceedings may be begun. That date must not be earlier than the date that a notice to quit would otherwise have been effective from. The notice must also inform the tenant that they have a right to request a review of the decision to seek an order for possession.

The procedure for such a review is set out in HA 1996, s 129, giving the tenant 14 days from the day the notice of proceedings is served to make such a request, after which the landlord must carry out such a review. The review must be carried out before the date specified in the notice of proceedings and the reasons must be notified to the tenant in the event that the decision is confirmed.

The principle of succession applies to an introductory tenant unless the tenant themself was a successor. Introductory tenants also have the same rights as secure tenants in respect of repairs and consultation on housing management issues, but do not have the right to buy, the right to take lodgers, to sublet, improve, or exchange.

 

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