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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Eviction process for private renters in Northern Ireland

Your landlord has to follow the right process to evict you. They have to give you written notice and then take you to court if you don't move out. 

It's illegal to try to evict a tenant without going through the proper steps.

Getting notice to end your tenancy

A notice to quit does not have to use any specific words. The landlord doesn't have to use a special form or template. The only requirements are that 

  • the notice is in writing, and 
  • you receive the notice a certain amount of time before the date it expires

Your landlord can give you the notice in person, by post, by email or text message. The notice is not valid if it is only given verbally.  

Amount of notice required

You have to get your written notice a certain amount of time before the date you have to move out.  

The amount of notice you get depends on how long you've lived in the property. You will get 

  • 4 weeks if you've rented your home for less than a year 
  • 8 weeks if you've rented your home for between 5 and 10 years 
  • 12 weeks if you've rented your home for more than 10 years 

You have to let your landlord know in writing if you want to move out. You have to give them 

  • 4 weeks' notice if you've lived in the property for less than 10 years 
  • 12 weeks' notice if you've lived in the property for more than 10 years 

The landlord has to take you to court if you are still in the property when the notice period ends. 

Reasons for eviction

Your landlord needs to have a reason to evict you if

  • you agreed to rent the property for a set period of time and that time hasn't ended yet or
  • you didn't agree a set period of time but have rented the property for less than 6 months

Your landlord can try to evict you if 

  • you've broken the terms of your agreement, e.g. you owe rent or
  • your agreement has a term that allows both you and the landlord to end it early

Your landlord does not need a reason to evict you if

  • your tenancy agreement has already ended and you didn't sign a new one or
  • you never had a tenancy agreement and have rented the property for more than 6 months

Fixing problems before you get to court

Get advice to see if you can sort out problems with your landlord. 

Our advisers may be able to help you

  • sort out a payment plan to deal with rent you owe
  • get extra help to pay your rent
  • solve disputes between you and your landlordGoing to court after the notice to quit ends

Your landlord has to take you to court if you stay in the property after the tenancy ends.  You'll usually get a letter from a solicitor first giving you one last chance to leave the property.

The court will send you a letter if the landlord gets a court hearing. The court might let you stay in the property if

  • you have a tenancy agreement and it has not run out yet and
  • you can show that you didn't breach the agreement or that you've fixed any breach (e.g. you paid all the rent you owe)

The court will order you to leave the property if 

  • your tenancy agreement has already ended or
  • you never had a tenancy agreement and have rented the property for 6 months or longer or
  • the court agrees that you broke the contract and it's reasonable to end the tenancy

The court can also order you to pay certain costs to the landlord, including

  • any rent you owe
  • any damage you've caused
  • the landlord's legal fees

After the court eviction hearing

The court will send you a copy of the order. It will 

  • give you a final date to leave the property
  • tell you how much money you have to pay the landlord

The court will send you a copy of the order if it agreed that the eviction should go ahead.  

You should make plans to move out. Get advice if you don't know where to go.  

The landlord still can't force you out of the property. They must apply to enforce the court order if you refuse to leave.  This can cost you more money, as the judge can make you responsible for paying the costs. 

You will get a notice after the hearing to explain that the order is going to be enforced. This means court officers will come to the property and remove you if you have not already left. 

Landlord evicts you without going to court 

It is illegal to force a tenant out of their home without a court order. 

Contact your local council's environmental health department if 

  • your landlord changes your locks 
  • your landlord asks you to move out without the proper notice 
  • your landlord threatens to remove you or your items from your home 

 

Need help solving a problem?

You should always get advice if you are having problems with a tenancy. You can contact Housing Rights for advice on your rights. Housing Rights can also provide a mediation service if you and your landlord are having problems and need an independent person to help resolve these.