Introductory tenancies

An introductory tenancy is a one-year trial council tenancy. It gives you most of the same rights as a secure council tenancy but you can be evicted much more easily. As long as you don’t break your tenancy agreement while you are an introductory tenant, you will automatically become a secure tenant.


Emergency laws were introduced in Wales to deal with evictions during the pandemic.

Between 29 September 2020 and 24 March 2022, most tenants in Wales were entitled to 6 months’ notice before their landlord could start court action to evict them. This included introductory tenants.

You could only be given a shorter notice in some limited cases. For example, if your landlord wanted to evict you on the grounds of antisocial behaviour.

The emergency laws ended on 24 March 2022. This means, if you receive a notice after the 24 March 2022, the amount of notice you are entitled to for an introductory tenancy is a minimum period of four weeks.

Am I an introductory tenant?

You are probably an introductory tenant if your council runs an introductory tenancy scheme (not all councils do), and:

  • the council has given you a home through its waiting list
  • your tenancy started less than a year ago, and
  • you do not live in accommodation that comes with your job.

If the council has an introductory tenancy scheme, it must apply to all new tenants.

When will I become a secure tenant?

You will normally be an introductory tenant for 12 months from the date your tenancy started or the date you moved in – whichever is later. You will normally become a secure tenant automatically after the first year has passed as long as the council doesn’t:

  • start action to evict you during the 12 month period, or
  • decide to extend your introductory tenancy for a further 6 months.

If you have spent time as an introductory tenant in another property before your current tenancy started, the time you spent there should count towards the 12 months. If you lived there for more than a year, you should be given a secure tenancy straight away. The same applies if you had a starter tenancy with a housing association immediately before you got your council tenancy.

If you have a joint tenancy, the trial period ends as soon as one of the joint tenants has completed the trial period.

What information can I get from the council?

The council should give you a written tenancy agreement explaining the rights and responsibilities you have as a tenant. It should tell you :

  • what kind of tenancy you have
  • how much rent you have to pay
  • when and how rent can be increased
  • whether there are any service charges.

The council can’t normally change the conditions of your tenancy without your written agreement, although they can increase the rent if they follow the right procedure (see below).

Can the council evict me?

Introductory tenants can be evicted much more easily than secure tenants. The council doesn’t have to prove a legal reason in court but they have to follow the right procedure. The most common reasons they might try to evict you include:

  • if you have caused nuisance to neighbours
  • if you haven’t paid the rent, or you have paid it late on a regular basis
  • if you move out of your home and rent it to someone else.

The council has to give you written notice that they are going to ask the court to evict you. The notice must:

  • give you at least 4 weeks notice
  • tell you the reasons why they have decided to ask the court to evict you
  • tell you that you have a right to request a review of their decision within the next 14 days
  • explain that you can obtain help or advice from Citizens’ Advice, housing aid or law centre, or a solicitor.

Get advice immediately if you receive this notice. You must ask the council to review their decision within 14 days of receiving the notice – if you do nothing there’s a serious risk that you will lose your home.

An adviser may be able to help you convince the council that you shouldn’t be evicted and can check whether there is any way you can put things right, such as claiming benefits or settling a neighbour dispute.

If the case goes to court, provided the council has followed the correct procedure, the judge is very likely to evict you.

See our pages on eviction of council tenants for more information.

What are the rules on rent and rent increases?

The council sets the amount of rent you have to pay as an introductory tenant. It is usually much lower than private landlords would charge for a similar property. Your rent should always be your top financial priority as you could lose your home if you don’t pay it. If you are on a low income you may be able to claim housing benefit or Universal Credit housing costs.

Check your tenancy agreement to see what it says about how the rent can be increased. The council normally has to give you written notice first. If you pay your rent weekly, they should give you at least four weeks’ notice. It is very difficult to challenge rent increases, even if they seem unfair.

Who is responsible for repairs?

The council should give you information about what repairs you are responsible for, which usually includes internal decoration and putting right any damage you cause. The council is usually responsible for most other repairs, including any problems with the roof, guttering, windows, doors and brickwork. They also have to ensure that the plumbing, gas and electricity are working safely.

If your home needs repairs, report the problem to the council immediately. They should have a 24 hour service for emergencies and proper procedures for carrying out any work involved. If the repairs aren’t done, or are done badly, get advice, or see our pages on repairs in social housing.

Can I take in lodgers or sublet my home?

Introductory tenants don’t have the right to take in a lodger or sublet their homes. If you do so without permission from the council, you can be evicted very easily.

Can I get a transfer?

If you want to move, it may be possible to get a transfer to another property owned by the council, but this isn’t normally possible until your tenancy becomes secure. Most councils have waiting lists which are quite long, especially if you need a large property. If you want to swap homes with another tenant by mutual exchange, you will also have to wait until your tenancy becomes secure.

Can I pass on my tenancy?

It is usually only possible for an introductory tenancy to be passed to someone else during your lifetime if it is part of a divorce or separation settlement. It will be possible in some other situations once your tenancy becomes secure. The legal process for this is called assignment.

If you have a joint tenancy and you die, the other joint tenant will automatically take over the tenancy. But if you are the sole tenant, there are rules about who the tenancy can be passed on to by succession:

  • Your tenancy can be passed on to your spouse or civil partner as long as s/he has been living in your home at the time of your death.
  • If you’re not registered as a civil partner or married, a partner or another member of your family can take over the tenancy, providing they have been living with you for at least a year.
  • The tenancy will still remain introductory until the one year has passed.
  • Succession can only happen once, unless your tenancy agreement allows for more than one succession. So if you took on the tenancy by succession, you normally can’t pass it on again.

What if I have a complaint?

If you think the council isn’t treating you fairly or has failed to fulfil its responsibilities, you can complain using their official complaints procedure. If you’re not happy with the response you get, you can complain further to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales.

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We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 08000 495 495.

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This page was last updated on: Ebrill 5, 2022

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.