When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Giving up your home


Keeping your home is not always going to be possible. You may need to consider giving up your home if you are building up large arrears, you're going to be in prison for a long time or you can't return home because of a threat or conflict.

In such instances, it may be best to end your tenancy or sell your home.

Deciding to give up your home

There are three main things to consider when determining whether giving up your home is the best course of action:

  • How long you'll be in prison and whether you can cover your housing costs during that time
  • Whether you're building up arrears and how your landlord will react to this
  • Whether it is safe or possible for you to return to your home; a community conflict or relationship breakdown might mean you shouldn't go back. 

If you choose to keep a tenancy but you've got no way to pay the rent or mortgage, and there is still time to serve on your sentence you could end up being evicted due to rent or mortgage arrears.

If the arrears get to a point where you're not going to be able to pay them off, continuing the tenancy may be unwise. Building up massive debts of having a property repossessed because of debt might make it difficult for you to get credit in the future.  You could also find that you're excluded from applying for social housing if your last tenancy was possessed because of rent arrears. 

If you decide to end your tenancy or sell your home, you need to be able to show that you didn't really have a choice in the matter.  Otherwise, the Housing Executive may decide that you're made yourself homeless on purpose.  This can make it very difficult to get help from the Housing Executive.

Don't make any decisions before you've discussed all your options with a qualified housing adviser. Make sure that you consider all the other options before you take the final and difficult step of giving up your home.