When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Ending a joint private tenancy

You will have a joint tenancy if someone else's name is on the tenancy agreement as well as your own.  

Most joint tenancy agreements have joint and several liability. This means you are responsible for 

  • your action and 
  • the actions of everyone else 

If one tenant moves out and stops paying rent the landlord can make the rest of you pay extra rent to cover this loss.  

Ending a joint tenancy

You can end a joint tenancy 

  • at the end of the tenancy term or  
  • at any time after your tenancy agreement ends 

You have to give your landlord written notice to quit. A notice to quit from one tenant will end the tenancy for all tenants.  

Ending a joint tenancy early

You can only end a joint tenancy early if 

If you move out before your tenancy agreement ends your landlord can 

  • take you or your guarantor to court for unpaid rent 
  • make the other tenants cover your rent and then let them take you to court 

Moving out of a joint tenancy

You are still legally responsible for paying rent until the tenancy ends. Your tenancy can continue after you move out if 

  • other joint tenants stay in the property and 
  • they do not sign a new agreement 

Make sure you've given the landlord notice to quit if you are moving out at the end of your tenancy term. The landlord can set up a new agreement with any tenants who remain and any new tenants. 

Finding replacement tenants

Your landlord may let you find a replacement tenant if one or more joint tenants want to leave.  

Make sure that 

  • any other tenants are happy with the new person 
  • you sign a new contract with the new person's name on it 
  • the landlord returns the deposit, less any fair charges, to the person who has left 
  • the landlord protects the tenancy deposit again with the details of the new tenancy 

Get advice if your landlord tries to charge you for adding someone to a tenancy agreement. This fee may be illegal.

Relationship breakdown in a private tenancy

Talk to your landlord if your relationship has ended and you are both named on the tenancy agreement.  

As joint tenants you have equal rights to the property. The landlord can only give you a new tenancy agreement in your sole name if 

  • the other person agrees to give up their tenancy rights or 
  • the landlord follows the process to end your current tenancy and then creates a new one 

Get advice if you live with an ex-partner and aren’t sure about your rights.