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Duration of introductory tenancies

This content applies to England

The duration of introductory tenancies and how they can be extended.

Length of trial period

An introductory tenancy runs for 12 months from the date it was entered into or the date on which the tenant had the right to move in (whichever is earlier). This is called the trial period.[1]

Time spent as an introductory tenant, or as an assured shorthold tenant of a private registered provider of social housing (PRPSH), immediately before the grant of the introductory tenancy, counts towards the trial period.[2] In the case of a joint introductory tenancy, the trial period ends as soon as any one of the joint tenants has completed the 12-month trial period.[3]

Once the trial period is up, the tenancy becomes a secure tenancy or flexible tenancy, provided the landlord has not taken possession action or extended the trial period. See Ending an introductory tenancy for information about possession action.

If the tenant is to become a flexible tenant the landlord must have notified her/him in writing before s/he became an introductory tenant that on expiry of the trial period s/he will become a flexible tenancy on a fixed-term of at least two years. The landlord must also have notified the tenant of the express terms of the flexible tenancy.[4]

Extending trial period

The trial period can be extended by six months provided the:[5]

  • landlord has served a notice at least eight weeks before the expiry date of the trial period, and
  • tenant has not requested a review or, if s/he has requested a review, the decision on review was to confirm the landlord's decision to extend the trial period.

Notice to extend trial period

Any notice of extension must state the:[6]

  • landlord's reasons for the extension
  • tenant has the right to ask for a review
  • review must be sought within 14 days of the notice of extension being served.[7]

Review of decision to extend trial period

A tenant has the right to ask for a review of the landlord's decision to extend the trial period.[8] The review should be carried out, and the tenant notified of the decision, before the end of the original 12-month trial period. The tenant must submit her/his request for a review within 14 days of the notice of extension being served. If s/he wishes to have an oral hearing, s/he must also inform the landlord of these wishes within the same period.

The landlord must give the tenant at least 10 clear days' notice of the date of the review, and the time and place of any oral hearing. The review should be carried out by a person who was not involved in the decision to extend the trial period.

Any written representations from the tenant must be received by the landlord at least two clear days before the date of the review.

If the tenant has requested an oral hearing, s/he has the right to:

  • be heard and to be accompanied or to be represented by another person
  • call any person to give evidence, and ask her/him any questions.

If the tenant and/or her/his representative fails to attend an oral hearing, the review may proceed. If a postponement of the review is requested, the landlord may grant or refuse the request as s/he sees fit. The landlord must give reasonable notice of the details of a reconvened hearing.

Once the review has been concluded, the landlord should inform the tenant of the decision. If the decision is to extend the trial period, it should give reasons for the decision.

The Court of Appeal has held that the review procedure for introductory tenancies is compatible with Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights (right to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal) as the procedure coupled with the availability of judicial review was an adequate safeguard.[9]

[1] s.125(1) Housing Act 1996.

[2] s.125(3) Housing Act 1996.

[3] s.125(4) Housing Act 1996.

[4] s.137A Housing Act 1996 as inserted by s.155 Localism Act 2011.

[5] s.125A Housing Act 1996, as inserted by s.179 Housing Act 2004; Housing Act 2004 (Commencement No.3) (England) Order 2005 SI 2005/1451; Housing Act 2004 (Commencement No.2) (Wales) Order 2005 SI 2005/3237 (W.242).

[6] s.125A(4)-(5) Housing Act 1996, as inserted by s.179 Housing Act 2004; Housing Act 2004 (Commencement No.3) (England) Order 2005 SI 2005/1451; Housing Act 2004 (Commencement No.2) (Wales) Order 2005 SI 2005/3237 (W.242).

[7] s.125B Housing Act 1996, as inserted by s.179 Housing Act 2004; Housing Act 2004 (Commencement No.3) (England) Order 2005 SI 2005 No. 1451; Housing Act 2004 (Commencement No.2) (Wales) Order 2005 SI 2005/3237 (W.242).

[8] s.125B Housing Act 1996, as inserted by s.179 Housing Act 2004; Introductory Tenancies (Review of Decisions to Extend a Trial Period) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/1077; Introductory Tenancies (Review of Decisions to Extend a Trial Period) (Wales) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/2983.

[9] McLellan v Bracknell Forest [2001] EWCA Civ 510; see also R (on the application of Gilboy) v Liverpool CC and Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government [2008] EWCA Civ 751.

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