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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Giving up your home

You might not be able to keep your home if you are going to be in prison for a long time, or you can't go back to it because it isn't safe for you or someone else. Talk to the housing adviser in your prison if you want to give up your home. 

Deciding to give up your home

Before you decide to give up your home, ask yourself

  • if you can afford to pay the rent or get someone else to cover it while you're in custody
  • is it safe for you to go back to your home — maybe you shouldn't if you've had a relationship breakdown or you're under threat there

Giving up a Housing Executive or housing association tenancy

Your landlord can't make you give up your tenancy just cause you're in prison. They can only end the tenancy if

  • they think you've abandoned the property
  • a court orders the tenancy to end because you owe a lot of rent, or
  • a court orders the tenancy to end because you've caused antisocial behaviour or neglected the property. 

Talk to the housing adviser at your prison if you're thinking about giving up your tenancy. They can help you fill in a non-abandonment form so your landlord knows you haven't abandoned your property. They can also look at ways to let you keep your tenancy. 

If there isn't any way to keep the tenancy, the adviser can help you to end it properly. 

Giving up a private tenancy

Your landlord has to follow the right process to end your tenancy. This means

  • giving you 12 weeks' notice in writing - they can send this to the prison
  • getting a court order for eviction. 

It might be better to give up or surrender your tenancy if you are going to be in prison for a long time, especially if you can't get help to pay your rent while you're in prison.

Talk to the housing adviser at your prison if you're thinking about giving up your tenancy. You'll need to let the landlord know what to do with your stuff. The housing adviser can help you talk to the landlord.