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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Ending a tenancy

Your landlord can only end your tenancy by following the correct process. Secure Housing Executive and housing association tenants can only be evicted if a court believes that they have broken the tenancy agreements. It's easier for a landlord to evict an introductory tenant, but the landlord still has to get a court order. Think carefully and get advice before you take any action to end your tenancy. It can be difficult to get a new social tenancy if you've given one up.

There are a few different things that can happen if you have to go to court for a possession hearing.

Housing Executive and housing association tenants should only be evicted as a last resort. Your landlord should work with you to try and resolve any problems and should only decide to go to court to evict you if all other attempts to sort out the problem have failed.

If you decide you no longer want to live in your home you need to formally end your tenancy. If you just leave without giving notice in writing your landlord could sue you for unpaid rent.

If you haven’t been a Housing Executive (NIHE) or housing association tenant for the last year, you’ll probably be an introductory tenant. After 12 months you’ll become a secure tenant and it will be more difficult to evict you.

Most landlords will ask you to pay a deposit and they have a good reason for asking for this. A deposit is like insurance against something going wrong in the property. However, it's important to remember that this money is your money and the landlord should only keep it if you have caused damage in the property, you owe rent to the landlord or you have failed to keep to the tenancy agreement and this means that the landlord has lost money.

A social landlord can end your tenancy if they think you are not living in the property. This is called "abandonment". 

The landlord does not have to go to court but they do have to follow the proper process. The process is only for social landlords. Private landlords must go to court to end your tenancy unless you have confirmed that you have moved out.

You'll need to negotiate with your landlord to try to get your money back. Any negotiating should be done in writing and you need to keep copies of any emails or letters you send. If you're not able to agree with your landlord, you can go to Small Claims Court to see if a judge thinks you should get your money back.

You are not required to serve a Notice to Quit to bring a fixed term agreement to an end, but you should write to your tenants to find out whether they intend to stay in the property or move on. Finding out your existing tenants' intentions will help minimise the risk of void months, where no rent is paid.

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