When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Ending a private tenancy

There are certain steps you need to take to end your tenancy. It can be difficult to get out of a tenancy before the expiry date, even if you have a valid reason for wanting out.  

Talk to your landlord if your tenancy is due to end in the next few months. You could

  • give notice if you want to move out,
  • sign a new contract if you want to stay long-term, or
  • keep renting on a month-to-month basis. 

You have to let your landlord know if you want to move out of your rented home. The law says you do this in writing a certain amount of time before the date you move out. This written notice is called a "notice to quit". 

Landlords should also give tenants written notice to quit if they want a tenant to move out. 

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.  

There are many reasons why you may want to leave a tenancy early. However, unless there is a clause allowing you to do so in your tenancy agreement, it can be difficult to leave once you’ve signed a rental contract.

Moving home is stressful. Once you’ve given your landlord Notice to Quit, you should start planning your move. You need to think about disconnecting your utilities and finding alternative accommodation.

Most tenants pay a security deposit when they move into a property. This is the tenant's money and should be returned at the end of the tenancy unless the tenant owes the landlord money. The deposit should be returned in full unless the landlord has suffered a genuine financial loss as a result of your actions. If your landlord has unfairly kept some of your deposit you should try to get this money back.

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.