When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Tenant or licensee

You can be a tenant or a licensee when you rent a room or a home from a landlord. 

Tenants have more rights than licensees. 

Tenant or licensee

You are a tenant if

  • you pay rent to your landlord and
  • the landlord needs permission to enter your home or your room and
  • you pay rent at regular times (e.g. every week or every month)

You may be a licensee if

  • you rent a room in your landlord's home and
  • the landlord doesn't need your permission to enter the room, or
  • the landlord does your cleaning, laundry or cooking

You are a licensee if

  • you live with your family or friends and don't have your own tenancy agreement
  • you live in temporary housing
  • your employer provides your housing and you will lose your home if you lose your job
  • you live in a halls of residence

Licensee rights

Your rights depend on what is in your agreement with the landlord. 

If you didn't sign an agreement, you have few rights. Your landlord has to give you reasonable notice if they want you to move out. But, this can be as little as a few hours' notice. 

Contact our helpline if you are a licensee and you've been told to move out.

Subtenants in Northern Ireland

You are a subtenant if you are renting from someone who is, themselves, a tenant. 

This is common in shared housing. The landlord may rent the whole property to one person. That person is then allowed to rent out rooms in the property to other people. Those people are subtenants. 

Rights of subtenants

You have the same rights as a tenant if you are a subtenant.

The person who rented the room to you is your landlord. Your rights end when that person moves out.

Contact our helpline if you are a subtenant who needs advice

Landlord didn't give permission to sublet

Tenants can only sublet rooms to other people if they have permission to do this. 

The landlord of the property can end a subtenancy by evicting the main tenant. They can do this if the person rented out rooms in the property and did not have permission to do this.