Introductory council tenancies

From 1 October 2023, Sheffield City Council plan to make all new council tenancies introductory. 

What is an introductory tenancy

An introductory tenancy usually lasts for 12 months, and it functions much like a trial period.

If there are no problems during the trial period, the tenancy will automatically become a secure tenancy 12 months after the tenancy started.

We may take the decision to extend the Introductory period for a further six months or end the tenancy before it becomes secure. We will always look to support tenants to sustain their tenancy in the first instance.

Introductory tenants have fewer rights than secure tenants and there is a simplified legal pathway for eviction.

Do you have to accept an introductory tenancy

Yes. If a local authority operates an introductory tenancy scheme it must grant introductory tenancies to all new tenants. An authority has no power to offer introductory tenancies to some people but not others.

The exception is where a new tenancy is granted to someone who was already a secure tenant or an assured tenant of a Registered Provider of Social Housing or other Local Authority. In this case, you will remain a secure tenant.

What are my responsibilities as an introductory tenant

Your responsibilities as an introductory tenant are set out in your tenancy agreement.

In general you must:

  • not cause a nuisance to people living locally or allow others living with you or visiting your home to cause a nuisance, for any reason
  • pay your rent regularly and on time
  • not harass any of our employees or anyone acting on our behalf
  • carry out repairs that are your responsibility and allow our employees or agents access to your home if we need to (such as to inspect your home or to carry out repairs)
  • occupy your home as your only or main residence

What is a secure tenancy

A tenancy where the landlord is a local authority is normally a secure tenancy.

A secure tenancy can only be ended by a landlord obtaining a possession order from court and has additional statutory rights, such as the right to take in a lodger or sub-let, make improvements and the right to buy.

What rights do I have

Your rights are very similar to those of secure tenants, but there are some differences.

Legal right


Introductory tenants

Right to succession of spouse family member. This includes same sex partners Yes Yes
Right to repair Yes Yes
Right to be consulted on housing management issues Yes Yes
Right to assign Yes Yes (in some instances)
Right to buy Yes No, but the introductory tenants period counts towards the discount
Right to take in lodgers Yes No
Right to sub-let Yes No
Right to improve Yes No
Right to exchange Yes No
Right to vote prior to transfer of new landlord Yes No
Right to be consulted on decision to delegate housing management Yes Yes
Right to participate in housing management contract monitoring Yes Yes

While there is no automatic right to those listed below, we may consider an application from tenants to:

  • improve their property
  • exchange their home
  • transfer to another council property and
  • to take in lodgers

Applications must be made in the same way as for secure tenants (for example the completion of a transfer form) and will normally be treated in line with existing policies for secure tenancies. For example: transfer requests may not be authorised when the tenant’s rent account is in arrears.

What if I have problems with my tenancy

Most people will pass smoothly from their introductory tenancy to a secure tenancy after 12 months. However, we will act quickly against anyone who breaks their tenancy agreement. 

We will always investigate first to see if things can be sorted out, but if the problem is serious, or if the tenant won’t co-operate with our efforts to find a solution, we will take legal action to evict them.

If you have broken any of the tenancy conditions, then as an alternative to taking legal action we may consider extending the introductory tenancy for a further six months. We will give you a notice of extension, which will tell you the reasons, why we are extending the tenancy.

You can ask us to review this decision and must do so within 14 days of us giving you the notice.

Ending your tenancy

The other option available to us is to end your tenancy. This might happen if, for example, you fail to pay your rent on time or you or your visitors cause nuisance or annoyance to anyone living in the area around your home. 

To end your tenancy, we will give you a notice telling you that we will be asking the court for a possession order. If you receive a notice, contact your Neighbourhood Officer to discuss the situation and to see if you can put things right.

If you receive a notice, it means that we are going to get a possession order from the court and you could be evicted.

Reviewing a decision

As an introductory tenant, you have the right to ask us to review our decision to get a possession order. We will attach a form to the notice so you can ask us to review it. We must receive your written request for a review within 14 days of the date we served the notice or we will apply to court for a possession order. 

If you ask for a review, we will send you a copy of the review procedures.

The reviewing officer has the power to cancel the notice if they think there was something wrong with how we dealt with your case or believes you will keep to the tenancy agreement in future.

If you are successful on review, you introductory tenancy will continue and convert to a secure tenancy at the specified date, assuming there are no breaches of your tenancy agreement.

What does a review involve

The review will be carried out by an independent person who was not involved in the decision to apply to court for a possession order. 

The reviewing officer will make a decision based on any statement you make, or the evidence you present and the information the decision to apply for a possession order was based on. 

You do not have to go to the review. However, you may want to ask for a hearing. If you ask for a hearing, you can represent yourself or ask someone to speak on your behalf (they don’t have to be legally qualified). 

You will be told the reviewing officers decision, in writing, before any application is made to court for a possession order. If the reviewing officer makes a decision in your favour, your tenancy will continue. If, however, the reviewing officer decides that asking court for a possession order was appropriate, we will then make an application to court. We will tell you where you can get independent advice. 

If we did take action against you, help is available from a citizen’s advice bureau, advice centre or a solicitor.

We are here to help you

As an introductory tenant you will get as much help as a secure tenant. If you experience anti-social behaviour or have any other problems during your probationary period, we’ll help you in exactly the same way as we would help a secure tenant. 

If you have any questions about your tenancy, please contact your Neighbourhood Officer. They are here to help you.

Contact Council Housing Service

0114 293 0000
Monday to Friday
8am to 5:30pm
Housing and Neighbourhood Service
PO Box 5967
S2 9GH

Want to talk to someone right now?

Is this page helpful?

Is this page helpful?