When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

No tenancy agreement

You don't have a right to a tenancy agreement. A landlord only has to provide a written tenancy agreement if the tenancy is due to last for longer than one year. If you don't have a tenancy agreement, you have basic rights that have been set out in law. 

Did you ever have an agreement?

If you signed a tenancy agreement when you first moved into the property, the terms in that contract will still apply even if it has now expired. But, if you've never had a tenancy agreement and your tenancy began on or after 1 April 2007, you have certain default rights.

Default tenancy term

Unless otherwise stated, you will have a right to a minimum tenancy term of six months.  During the first six months of your tenancy, your landlord can't increase the rent.  If your landlord asks you to leave before these six months end, you can defend yourself at court.  Speak to an adviser if you are issued with a notice to quit during the first six months of your tenancy. 

Landlord's responsibility to repair

If you don't have a tenancy agreement or your tenancy agreement doesn't say anything about repairs, your landlord will be responsible for

  • repairing and maintaining the structure and exterior of the property, including drains, gutters and external pipes
  • ensuring the exterior paintwork is kept in reasonable decorative order
  • repairs to the interior of the property, as long as you haven't caused damage
  • repairs to any installations for water, gas, electricity or sanitations
  • repairs to heating and water heating systems
  • repairs to any appliances which make use of the water, gas or electricity supply and which have been provided by the landlord under the terms of the tenancy
  • repairs to any fixtures, fittings and furniture provided by the landlord under the terms of the tenancy. 

Your responsibilities

Just as the Private Tenancies Order (NI) 2006 sets out certain things which the landlord must do, it also contains a list of things that the tenant has to do.  You are responsible for

  • taking proper care of the premises
  • fixing any damage caused to the premises either on purpose or through negligence
  • ensuring that the interior of the property is kept in reasonable decorative order and
  • getting the landlord's permission before you make any changes, including decorative changes, to the property. 

While you have to get permission before you can decorate, the landlord shouldn't unreasonably refuse permission.

Other basic rights 

Whether you have a tenancy agreement or not, you are also entitled to