Your landlord has to follow a certain legal process to evict you. This starts with giving you written notice of the date your tenancy ends. This is called a notice to quit.
Notice to quit in Northern Ireland
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 1 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
Reasons for ending your tenancy
Your landlord can end your tenancy before the date it's supposed to end if you've broken the agreement. This might happen if
- you owe rent or
- you've damaged the property or
- you've caused problems with your behaviour
Get advice if you have a contract but your landlord says you've broken it and have to leave.
Your landlord does not need a reason to end your tenancy if
- you never had a tenancy agreement and have lived there for more than 6 months or
- your tenancy agreement ended and you stayed in the property without signing a new one
Staying on after the notice to quit ends
Get advice if you get a notice to quit. You may be able to stay in your home if
- you have a contract and can defend the case at court or
- your landlord is willing to negotiate with you
Your landlord will take you to court if you stay in the property after your notice ends. They'll usually send you a legal letter first giving you a final chance to move out.
Going to court for an eviction from a private tenancy
Your landlord needs a court order to
- change the locks on the property or
- make you leave the property against your wishes
The judge will order you to leave the property if
- you don't have a tenancy agreement for the property or
- they agree that you broke the agreement and gave up your tenancy as a result
The judge can dismiss the case if
- they don't agree that you broke the contract or believe the breach was not serious or
- the landlord gave you the wrong amount of notice or did not follow the court process properly
The judge can order you to pay some or all of the landlord's legal costs.
Get advice if you've been asked to go to court for an ejectment hearing
After the court hearing
You will get a copy of any order the judge makes. It will give you a date to leave the property.
The landlord can take you to court again if you do not move out. This can cost you more money.
Landlord evicts you without 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
Our housing advisers can help you understand your rights