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Introductory tenancies

The City and County of Swansea has introduced the use of introductory tenancies for new tenants.

What is an introductory tenancy?

An introductory tenancy is a temporary tenancy, which lasts 12 months, during this time the tenancy will be on a trial period.

  • If the tenancy in conducted satisfactorily during this period, then the tenant will automatically become a secure tenant at the end of 12 months.
  • If the tenant breaks any of the terms set out in your Tenancy Agreement and Tenancy Conditions we can decide if we want to evict them, if we do decide this, it is easier and quicker to do so than with a secure tenancy. The council can also extend the 12 month probationary period for another 6 months.
     

Why have introductory tenancies in Swansea?

  • They have been introduced to help us tackle anti-social behaviour and to ensure that tenants keep to their Tenancy Agreement and Tenancy Conditions.
  • It is expected that the use of introductory tenancies will help us to make sure that our estates are safe and pleasant places to live.
  • By using introductory tenancies, it makes it easier for the council to evict new tenants whose behaviour is anti-social and affects other residents and also those who do not keep to their Tenancy Agreement and Tenancy Conditions.
     

What is the difference between an introductory tenancy and a secure tenancy?

  • There is a big difference between a Secure and an introductory tenant, the latter has far less rights.
  • As stated above it is much easier for us to evict introductory tenants providing it is within the first 12 months of their tenancy, or 18 months if we have taken action to extend their tenancy by 6 months. An introductory tenant can only be extended once; therefore the maximum a tenancy can run is 18 months unless an eviction is pending.
  • Possession is quicker and automatic and as long as we have followed the process properly, the court should not overrule our decision to end the tenancy.
     

Who will be introductory tenants?

New tenants to the council will be introductory tenants, the exceptions are:

  • Tenants who are existing secure tenants of Swansea or a different council, there must be no break between one tenancy and the next.
  • Tenants who are existing assured tenants of a housing association (Registered Social Landlord (RSL)), the same principle as above applies.
  • If a tenant is already an introductory tenant with a council or a starter tenant (in the case of housing association tenants) and transfers they will continue to be introductory until they reach 12 months (or 18 if extended).
     

Rights and responsibilities

Introductory tenants have the same responsibilities as a secure tenant but they do not have the same rights.

An introductory tenant must:

  • Pay rent;
  • Keep their home and garden clean and tidy;
  • Respect neighbours and not cause, or allow, a nuisance to be caused.
  • Keep to the terms of the Tenancy Agreement and Tenancy Conditions.

An introductory tenant cannot:

  • Exchange homes
  • Take in lodgers
  • Sub-let any part of their home
  • Buy their council home
  • Carry out improvements to their home
  • Vote prior to a transfer to a new landlord

The details of what conditions do not apply to introductory tenants are given to them when they commence tenancy.

Can an introductory tenant move home?

Tenants will have to wait until they become a secure tenant before they can swap their home (called a mutual exchange) with another council or housing association tenant. In exceptional circumstances, the council may allow a transfer.

What happens after 12 months

  • Providing we do not take action to evict or extend an introductory tenant they will automatically become a secure tenant.
  • There is no need to sign a new tenancy agreement.
  • At this point the tenant will have full rights.
  • For right to buy purposes the commencement of the introductory tenancy date will be taken in to account for discount purposes.
     

Conducting the tenancy

  • Introductory tenancies will be closely monitored. 
  • If introductory tenants conduct their tenancies satisfactorily, no action will be taken against them.
  • If they do not we can do one of two things, either:
    - We will look to evict them
    - We will look to extend their introductory tenancy by 6 months
  • Our aim is to offer support, advice and guidance, if however there are ongoing problems with a tenancy we will look to do one of the above.
     

How do we go about evicting or extending introductory tenancies?

  • There is a strict legal process to follow and we will do this.
  • We will fully investigate complaints in the way we do now; we will interview complainants and the tenant and write to them. To either evict or extend an introductory tenant we must serve the tenant with the correct notice.
  • Introductory tenants will have the right to have their case reviewed and we will help tenants with this appeal process.
  • The review will be heard by a panel of senior officers who have not been involved in the original decision making process.
  • If the panel agrees that an introductory tenant should be evicted the case will be entered in to court in a similar way as it is now. 
  • If the tenant does not appeal/ask for a review we will progress to either the eviction or extension stage.

It is anticipated that Introductory Tenants will help us manage the first 12 months of new tenancies more effectively by helping new tenants and ensuring that, particularly where cases of anti-social behaviour occur, that we deal quickly and appropriately with new tenants. 

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