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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Unwinding a tenancy agreement

In very limited circumstances, consumer protection regulations may allow you to "unwind" your tenancy agreement.  This right only applies within the first 90 days of the contract and will only apply if you can show that you only entered into the contract because of misleading or aggressive practices. 

Unwinding the contract

You may have a right to unwind the contract or a right to a discount on the rent you have already paid under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, as amended by the Consumer Protection (Amendment) Regulations 2014, if you can show that the agent or landlord engaged in aggressive or misleading selling practices. The right to unwind the contract only applies within the first 90 days of the lease.

For these rights to apply, the aggressive or misleading practice must have been a key factor in your decision to enter into the tenancy and must have been likely to cause the "average customer" to do the same.  This could happen if, for example, an agent or landlord promised that certain repairs would be carried out before you moved into the property and this condition was the key factor in influencing your decision to rent the property. You may need some sort of evidence to prove your allegations that you only signed the contract because of misleading information or aggressive tactics.  

What is a misleading or aggressive practice?

Regulations 5 and 7 of the Regulations set out what constitutes a misleading or aggressive practice.  These might include

  • false claims made by the agent or landlord,  
  • describing the property in a misleading way or
  • being deliberately vague about the actual price of renting the property and
  • hiding additional costs and charges from potential tenants.

Aggressive practices include certain behaviour which impacts the consumer's freedom of choice through harassment, coercion or undue influence. 

Providing false information or deceiving consumers in how the property was presented would constitute a misleading practice. But, remember that it's your responsibility to conduct a thorough inspection of the property during the viewing.  The agent or landlord is not required to disclose any faults but should answer your questions truthfully.