Schedule 4 - Introductory standard contracts
87.This schedule sets out in more detail the arrangements under the Act that apply to introductory standard contracts. Introductory standard contracts are a type of periodic standard contract that can be issued by community landlords, in the first instance for an introductory period of 12 months, instead of issuing a secure contract.
88.A community landlord can also extend the introductory period to a total of 18 months by giving the contract-holder a notice of extension at least eight weeks before the introductory period with otherwise end. The contract-holder can request that the landlord reviews the landlord’s decision to seek an extension. Furthermore if, after an internal review of the decision by the landlord, the landlord gives a notice informing the contract-holder that the landlord has decided to confirm the decision, or fails to give notice at all, the contract-holder can apply to the county court for a review of the decision to extend the introductory period.
89.The processes relating to extension, internal review and review by the county court set out in this schedule are very similar to those applying to prohibited conduct standard contracts (see Schedule 7).
90.This paragraph sets out what constitutes the introductory period during which an occupation contract granted by a community landlord is a periodic standard contract (because of the exception in paragraph 3 of Schedule 3)
91.Where a community landlord has sought to terminate the contract through making a possession claim, or given notice to the contract-holder of its intention to do so, but the claim has not concluded, the contract will remain a standard contract beyond the introductory period until:
the notice is withdrawn,
the time for making the claim runs out without the claim being pursued,
the claim is determined in favour of the contract-holder, or
the contract ends without any of those events having happened.
92.This paragraph sets out how the date on which the introductory period starts is determined if the contract-holder was a party to an introductory standard contract which ended just as the right to occupy the dwelling under the new introductory standard contract began. In the case of joint contract-holders, the date is the earliest of the dates that would apply if each joint contract-holder was treated individually.
93.A landlord may extend the introductory period from 12 months to 18 months. In deciding whether to extend the introductory period, the landlord may consider the behaviour of the contract-holder(s) and the behaviour of any person who the landlord considers to be living in the dwelling.
94.A community landlord seeking an extension to the introductory period must notify the contract-holder at least eight weeks before the introductory period is due to end. The notice must:
inform the contract-holder of the decision to extend and the reasons why the landlord is seeking the extension, and
inform the contract-holder that they have the right to request the community landlord to review its decision, and set out the time by which such a request must be made.
95.The Welsh Ministers may extend or shorten the period within which notice of extension must be given to the contract-holder in order for the notice to be valid.
96.If the contract-holder requests a review, the landlord must review its decision, following which it may confirm or reverse the decision to give the notice. The landlord must notify the contract-holder of the outcome of the review before the day on which introductory period would end if it was not extended.
97.The Welsh Ministers may by regulations set out the procedure to be followed for any review of the notice.
98.Where a review has taken place and the landlord gives the contract-holder notice confirming the original decision, or where the landlord fails to notify the contract-holder of the outcome, the contract-holder may apply to the county court for a review of the decision to give the notice of extension. An application must be made within 14 days of the date on which the landlord gives the contract-holder notice of its decision or 14 days from the date by which the landlord should have notified the contract-holder of the decision (that being the day on which the introductory period would have ended, if it hadn’t been extended).
99.The court may confirm or quash the decision to give the notice of extension. If the court quashes the decision and the landlord gives the contract-holder a further notice of extension within 14 days of the court’s decision, the notice is deemed to comply with the notice requirement in paragraph 3(2) (that is, it is taken to have been given at least eight weeks before the day on which the introductory period would have ended). This does not affect the time limit within which the contract-holder may seek a review so, in practice, the contract-holder’s right to ask the landlord (within 14 days of receiving the notice) to review the decision to give the notice then applies again. If the contract-holder requests such a review, the landlord has to give the contract-holder notice of the outcome of the review before the end of the period of 14 days starting with the day on which the contract-holder asked for the review.
100.Paragraph 6 explains how a written statement (which a landlord is required to give the contract-holder if a term of the contract incorporates section 31) can deal with the introductory standard contract and with the secure contract that may arise at the end of an introductory standard contract. If the landlord and the contract-holder have agreed before the end of the introductory period what the terms of the secure contract will be, the landlord may provide a written statement which sets out the terms of both the introductory standard contract and the secure contract which may arise at the end of the introductory period. The written statement can do this either by identifying the terms of the introductory standard contract that will not be terms of the secure contract (for instance, by marking up the written statement of the introductory standard contract) and setting out the terms that will only apply to the secure contract, or by separately setting out all the terms of the secure contract.
101.Where a landlord has provided a written statement of an introductory standard contact which addresses the secure contract, the statement is not taken to be incorrect merely because it addresses the secure contract. A landlord providing such a statement is treated as having complied with the requirement in section 31 to provide a written statement in relation to the secure contract.
102.Should the introductory period be extended by the landlord (meaning that the occupation date of the secure contract changes) the written statement will not be incorrect merely because it does not set out the new occupation date of the secure contract.
103.If the landlord gives the contract-holder a written statement that addresses both the introductory standard contract and the secure contract which may arise at the end of the introductory period, the landlord and contract-holder may, prior to the occupation date of the secure contract, agree to vary the secure contract addressed in the written statement. However, this is subject to sub-paragraphs (2) to (5), which provide:
that there are limits on the extent to which fundamental terms can be varied (see section 108(1) to (5),
that the landlord is required to give a written statement of a variation (and that compensation is payable if the landlord fails to comply) (see sections 109(1) to (3) and 110),
that the specific requirements for varying rent or other consideration set out in sections 104(1) to (3) or section 105(1)(b) and (2) to (4) apply, and
that the variation of rent or other consideration can take effect from the occupation date of the secure contract, or from a later date.
104.Section 20 provides for this paragraph to be a fundamental provision which is incorporated without modification as a term of all introductory standard contracts where the written statement is a ‘relevant written statement’ (that is, it addresses both the introductory standard contract and the secure contract that may follow).
105.Paragraph 8 explains what the terms of a secure contract will be when an introductory standard contract ends and is replaced with a secure contract and the terms of the secure contract have not been addressed in the written statement in accordance with paragraph 6(2) (see note on paragraph 6 above). If the landlord and the contract-holder have agreed the terms of the secure contract, the terms of the contract are as agreed. If the landlord and contract-holder have not agreed the terms of the secure contract, paragraph 8(4) explains what the terms of the secure contract are to be.
106.Where a secure contract arises following an introductory standard contract, and the contract incorporates section 39(1) without modification, there is no requirement under that term for the landlord to provide the contract-holder with an address to which documents can be sent. The address of the landlord will not have altered as a consequence of the change from an introductory standard contract to a secure contract.