When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Evicting introductory tenants

An introductory tenancy is a trial period for your tenancy. 

It is easier for your landlord to evict you if you are an introductory tenant. 

You will probably be an introductory tenant if

  • you rent from the Housing Executive or a housing association and
  • you've lived in your home for less than a year.

Restrictions on introductory tenancies

You can't usually swap your tenancy or apply for a transfer if you're an introductory tenant. It's a lot easier for your landlord to evict you if you are an introductory tenant.

Transferring from one landlord to another

You keep your secure tenancy if you transfer or swap your home. You don't have to do a new trial period if you move from a home owned by one social landlord to a home owned by another social landlord. 

Ending an introductory tenancy

Your introductory tenancy will end because

  • you become a secure tenant when the 12 month period ends or
  • your landlord takes legal steps to end your tenancy and evict you.

Evicting an introductory tenant

You could be evicted if you break the terms of your agreement.  The Housing Executive or housing association can end your tenancy if

  • you haven’t paid your rent
  • you, someone you live with or a visitor to your home has been involved in antisocial behaviour.

Antisocial behaviour is behaviour that would make you a difficult tenant.  This could include complaints about:

  • noise from your home
  • violent or harassing behaviour
  • using the property for illegal or immoral purposes
  • keeping the property in bad condition
  • animals at the property

The legal process

Your landlord has to serve you with a 'notice to terminate'.  This must

  • tell you that your landlord is trying to end your tenancy and explain the reasons why
  • tell you that you can ask for a review
  • explain when that review will happen and when you can expect to hear the result
  • tell you which court will look at your case
  • give the date when legal proceedings will begin which must be at least 28 days after you receive the notice
  • tell you where you can go for help and advice

Contact our helpline if you get a 'notice to terminate'. We might be able to help you at the review. 

You have 14 days to tell the Housing Executive or housing association if you want a review.  

If you don't ask for a review within that time, your landlord will go to court to evict you. 

Introductory tenancy review hearing

Your review can happen on paper or in person. 

At an in-person hearing

  • you will meet with your landlord to talk about the issues
  • you can explain your side of the story and answer any questions
  • you can ask for someone else to speak for you.

At a paper hearing

  • your landlord will review all the paperwork in your file
  • you can send in statements or evidence to explain your side of the story.

The person or people acting for your landlord at the review won't have been involved in the original decision to end your tenancy.

An adviser, friend or solicitor can help you with the review. Contact our helpline if you want advice. 

After the introductory tenancy review

After the review, your landlord can.

  • decide to go ahead with plans to end your tenancy, or
  • decide the original decision was wrong and allow your introductory tenancy to continue.

You can’t appeal the review decision but you might be able to ask for a judicial review.  You will need a solicitor for a judicial review.

Going to court to be evicted

The judge will usually allow your landlord to evict you if

  • they gave you a notice to terminate
  • you got the notice at least 28 days before they filed the paperwork for court
  • they gave you an opportunity to have a review hearing

The court can only stop the eviction if it thinks your landlord's actions are

  • unreasonable, or
  • disproportionate.

Contact our helpline right away if you are an introductory tenant with a court date.