Written occupation contracts: General information

  • It is a legal requirement for your landlord to provide a written occupation contract
  • You might be able to claim compensation if you don’t receive a written occupation contract
  • Your landlord can’t give you a ‘no fault’ eviction notice if you didn’t receive a written contract

Most people renting their homes have a secure or standard contract.

If you have one of these types of contracts you must be given a written contract.

Your landlord could face penalties if they do not provide a written contract. 

If you do not have a secure or standard occupation contract the information on this page does not apply to you. Please read our advice here for information about other types of renting agreements.  

What information should be in my written contract? 

All written occupation contracts must contain the key matters, fundamental terms, supplementary terms and additional terms of the contract. 

Key matters  

The key matters of an occupation contract include: 

  • the names of the landlord and contract-holder,   
  • the address of the property  
  • the landlord’s or agent’s address (these can be provided separately) 
  • the amount of rent due and how often  
  • whether it is a fixed term or a periodic contract  

Fundamental Terms

Fundamental terms are very important aspects of the contract and include:   

  • how you can be evicted  
  • the landlord’s responsibilities to keep the property fit to live in 
  • the landlord’s responsibilities to repair certain things 
  • how the landlord must deal with a deposit 

You can read more about fundamental terms here. 

Supplementary Terms

Supplementary terms deal with common day-to-day issues, and include: 

  • how and when you should report repairs  
  • what you need to do if you change a utility provider 
  • the requirement for the landlord to provide an inventory 

You can read more about supplementary terms here. 

Additional Terms 

Additional terms refer to anything else that is agreed. These terms should be fair in accordance with consumer law. Additional terms could include: 

  • whether you can keep pets 
  • anything else specific to the property such as parking. 

Model occupation contracts 

There is a  ‘model contract’  for each of the main types of occupation contract; secure, periodic standard and fixed term standard. The model contracts can be viewed on the Welsh government’s website here 

Can terms be changed or left out?

Some parts of the model contracts can be changed but not all.

There are rules about:

  • which terms can be changed or left out,
  • whether there needs to be agreement between the landlord and contract-holder, and
  • the procedure the landlord must follow.

Fundamental terms

Fundamental terms can only be changed or left out if you agree and think that the change puts you in a better position.  

Some fundamental terms can’t be changed or left out. For example, your landlord can’t change the term requiring your deposit to be protected. These terms will apply even if you and the landlord agree to change or remove them.  

If you and the landlord agree upon removing any fundamental terms this must be clearly identified in the contract.

More information about how fundamental terms work can be viewed here 

Supplementary terms

The landlord can offer you a contract which changes or leaves out the  supplementary terms that are in the model contracts. If a supplementary term is left out this term must be clearly identified in your written contract.

More information about how supplementary terms can be found here.

When should I receive the written contract? 

Your landlord must provide you with a written occupation contract within 14 days of the start date of your contract.

You can’t be charged a fee to be given the written contract but your landlord can request a reasonable fee for further copies.  

If you have a converted contract your landlord has until 1 June 2023 to provide you with a written contract. If you are not sure what kind of agreement you have, get help

What if I don’t receive my written occupation contract?  

If your landlord doesn’t provide you with a written contract you can take action in the county court.

The court can order the landlord to provide the written contract or make a ‘declaration’ of the contracts’ terms.

If they make a declaration, the contract will be the same as the Welsh government’s model contract unless you inform the court that you agreed to change or remove any terms. 

What if my written occupation contract is incomplete or incorrect? 

If your landlord provides you with a written contract that you think is incomplete or incorrect you can take action in the county court. 

The court can order the landlord to provide a complete and correct written contract or make a declaration of the contract terms. 

If fundamental or supplementary terms were left out, then the terms the Welsh government’s model contract will be included. 

 Get help if you are unsure whether your landlord has broken the rules about providing a written contract.  

Can I claim compensation if my landlord doesn’t follow the rules? 

Yes. If your landlord doesn’t provide a written contract or a correspondence address,  then you are entitled to compensation.

If your landlord provides a contract that is incomplete or incorrect, then you might be entitled to compensation if a court finds that the landlord intentionally gave an incorrect or incomplete written contract.

You are also be entitled to compensation if your contract has been changed but your landlord doesn’t give you a written statement of variation’, or a new written contract including the change.

The amount of compensation is 1 days’ rent for each day you haven’t received the contract. The maximum amount of compensation is 2 months’ rent. 

If you apply to the court for a declaration of your contract and compensation, you can ask the court to increase the amount of compensation if you believe the landlord intentionally broke the rules. 

The law allows you to ‘set off’ compensation against rent. This means that you can withhold rent payments up to the amount of compensation that is due.  

Get help if you are considering setting off compensation against rent, because it may be easier for the landlord to evict you if you fall behind with rent payments, especially if they claim you have 2 months or more of rent arrears. 

Can my landlord still evict me if they haven’t followed the rules? 

If your landlord didn’t:

  • give you a written contract, or
  • a correspondence address

within 14 days of the contract starting, they can’t give you a ‘no fault’ eviction notice.

Once you receive the written contract your landlord must wait 6 months until they can give you a ‘no fault’ notice.

If the landlord only failed to give you a correspondence address, once you receive this they will be able to serve a ‘no fault’ eviction notice.

However, it will still be possible for the landlord to evict you if you are in serious rent arrears or have breached your contract’s terms about antisocial behaviour. 

You can find out more information on our eviction advice pages.  

Get help if you receive a notice. Getting advice early might help you keep your home.

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: November 9, 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.