When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Splitting with a partner when you rent privately

It can be hard to know what to do if you split up or fall out with someone you're living with. Your rights in this situation depend on your status and what your tenancy agreement says. Your rights depend on the type of tenancy you have.  If you're experiencing domestic violence or you feel unsafe in your home get advice immediately

Joint tenants with one tenancy agreement

Usually joint tenancies are set up where all the tenants are party to one tenancy agreement.  Each of the tenants is responsible for their own rent and responsibilities and for the group's responsibilities and rent.  This is knows as joint and several liability.

If one tenant ends this type of joint agreement none of the other tenants can stay in the property without the landlord's permission. The person who wishes to end the agreement will have to give written notice to quit to the landlord to formally end the tenancy. If you don't formally end a joint tenancy, you may still have to pay rent after you move out.

If you and your partner are both named on the tenancy and he or she gives notice to leave you should contact your landlord.  Your landlord may be happy to 

  • give you a new tenancy agreement in your name only or
  • allow you to find someone else to move into the property.

If you take over the tenancy on your own, you'll be responsible for paying the full rent on the property. 

Tenants with your own, individual tenancy agreements

It's unusual for a landlord to give separate tenancy agreements to people living as a couple.  But, if you do have your own agreement that doesn't mention your partner then you will probably still be able to live in the property if your partner leaves.  You'll only be responsible for whatever portion of the rent is specified in your individual agreement. 

Not named on the tenancy agreement

If you are living with your partner in a property but you're not named on any tenancy agreement then you are not a full tenant.  If your partner wants you to leave, you have no rights to stay on in the property. If your partner wants to move out but you want to stay, you'll have to negotiate with the landlord to see if he or she is willing to let you become the tenant of the property.  You'll have to set up a new tenancy agreement between you and the landlord. 

If you're not sure what your rights are, get in touch with an adviser at Housing Rights