Introductory standard contracts: Rights and responsibilities

  • An introductory standard contract is a 12-month trial contract with a community landlord  
  • With an introductory standard contract, you have similar rights to a secure contract holder but can be evicted more easily  
  •  You will a become secure contract-holder after 12 months, unless the introductory period is extended or your landlord takes action to evict you  

If you moved into your home before 1 December 2022 the information below does not apply to you. Please visit our converted contracts advice section. 

This page explains your rights if you have an introductory standard occupation contract with a community landlord. It covers the rights you have to live in your home without being disturbed and to get repairs done.

It does not explain the procedure that a community landlord has to follow to extend the introductory period of your contract. For information about this, click here. 

Do I have an introductory standard contract? 

Most contracts with community landlords start out as introductory standard contracts. This is a 12-month ‘trial contract’ which will automatically become a secure contract if there are no problems (such as rent arrears or antisocial behaviour). If there are problems community landlords can extend the trial period (often referred to as ‘introductory period’) by a further 6 months or evict the contract-holder.   

You have an introductory standard contract holder if: 

  • you have a community landlord, 
  • You moved in less than 12 months ago (or 18 months if the introductory period was extended) 
  • you received a written contract telling you that you have an introductory standard contract, . 

If you were renting from a council or housing association and had an introductory or starter tenancy immediately before 1 December 2022 then you now have a converted introductory standard contract. The information on this page doesn’t apply to you, please visit our converted introductory standard contracts page. 

When will I become a secure contract-holder? 

You will become a secure contract-holder automatically after 12 months, unless your landlord: 

  • starts action to evict you during the 12-month period, or 
  • decides to extend your introductory period for a further 6 months. 

If you spent time as an introductory contract-holder in another property immediately before your current contract 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 contract straight away. 

How can my landlord extend the introductory period? 

To find out about how the introductory period can be extended, click here. You can ask for a review of your landlord’s decision to extend the introductory period.  

What information should I be given at the start of my contract? 

Your landlord must give you a written contract within 14 days of your contract starting. The contract will explain your rights and the responsibilities and must also contain certain information. If your landlord doesn’t give you the written contract or the information in it is wrong, find out what you can do here.

You should also be given:  

  • a contact address for your landlord  
  • a copy of the annual gas safety check dated within the last year 
  • an electrical installation condition report dated within the last 5 years 
  • an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) dated within the last 10 years 

Can I be evicted during the introductory period? 

Yes. It is usually quite easy for your landlord to evict you under an introductory standard contract because they don’t have to prove a legal reason to the court. Your landlord has to follow the right procedure. If they want to evict you they must give you a notice and, once you receive the notice, you will have a right to ask your landlord to review their decision to evict you. 

Find out more information by reading our advice about eviction of introductory standard contract-holders.

What are the rules on rent and rent increases? 

Read your contract to see what it says about how the rent should be paid. You must pay the rent that you agreed with your landlord. If you don’t pay your rent your landlord can take court action to evict you

Your landlord will give you rent statements from time to time, showing how much rent was due and how much rent was paid.  

During the introductory period, if your landlord wants to increase your rent, they must give at least 2 months’ notice on a RHW12 form. 

 If your landlord wants to increase your rent less than a year after your last rent increase, get help. 

Your rent should always be your top financial priority as you could lose your home if you get into rent arrears. If you are claiming benefits or have a low income, you may be able to claim housing benefit or Universal Credit housing costs to help with the rent.

Can the landlord change my contract? 

Your landlord can change:  

Changes can only be made by agreement. If any changes are agreed, your landlord should give you a ‘written statement of variation’ within 14 days. They may choose to give you the full written contract again, including the changed term. If your landlord does not provide either of these, find out what you can do here.

Who is responsible for repairs? 

Your landlord is responsible for ensuring that the property is fit to live in and kept in good repair. This includes dealing with: 

  • problems with the roof, guttering, windows, doors and brickwork  
  • plumbing, gas and electricity. 

Your landlord should give you information about what repairs you are responsible for, which usually includes internal decoration and putting right any damage you cause. 

If your home needs repairs, report the problem to your landlord straight away. They should have a 24-hour service for emergencies and proper procedures for carrying out any work involved.

Find out more about repairs if you have a community landlord here. 

Your right to live in your home without interference 

You have the right to live in your home without interference from the landlord or anyone acting on their behalf. If your landlord tries to do this s/he may be guilty of harassment, which is against the law. To find out more about what you can do if your landlord is harassing you, read our advice about harassment and illegal eviction. 

Can I take in lodgers? 

You don’t normally have the right to take in a lodger or sublet part of your home while you are an introductory standard contract-holder. If you do so without written permission from your landlord, they may decide to evict you. 

Can I add a joint contract-holder? 

Your contract should give you the right to add a joint contract-holder if your landlord agrees. This is a fundamental term of secure, periodic standard and fixed term standard contracts. Find out more here. 

Can I transfer my contract to someone else? 

You can’t transfer an introductory standard contract (ie pass it on to someone else during your lifetime) unless it’s done as part of a divorce or other family proceedings. You might be able to do so once your contract becomes a secure contract again, but only if your landlord agrees.

Can someone else take over my contract when I die? 

As an introductory standard occupation contract-holder, there are rules about who the occupation contract can be passed on to. The legal process for passing your contract on when you die is called ‘succession’. Read more about succession here.  

Can I transfer to another community landlord home? 

It may be possible to get a transfer to another property owned by a community landlord. Most councils have a waiting list for tenants who want a transfer and can give you information about the rules. 

You are more likely to be offered a transfer if your home isn’t suitable for you. Even if this is the case, you may have to wait a long time for somewhere suitable. 

 You could ask your current landlord if they could transfer you to another of their properties. Their policies might allow for this, or they could advise you to apply to the council’s community landlord waiting list. Find out more about waiting list transfers here

 

Can I swap my home? 

You probably won’t be able to swap your home with another community landlord contract-holder. Once your introductory period ends and you are given a secure contract, you will be able to swap your home with another secure contract-holder, possibly in another part of the country. 

How can I end an introductory standard contract? 

If you want to end your introductory standard contract and leave your home you should give the landlord the correct notice in writing. The minimum length of notice you should give your landlord is 4 weeks. 

What if I have a complaint? 

If you feel that a community landlord isn’t treating you fairly or has failed to fulfil its responsibilities, you should use their official complaints procedure. You usually have to do this before you can take things any further. 

If you’re not happy with the response you get, you can complain further to the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales. 

Did you find this helpful?

Rydym yn ymddiheuro na fedrwn ddarparu’r wybodaeth yma yn Gymraeg, ond os hoffech siarad ag ymgynghorydd yn Gymraeg yna cysylltwch ar 08000 495 495.
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.

This page was last updated on: Awst 21, 2023

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.