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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.

You can’t simply decide to leave a property and move out immediately. By law, you have to give your landlord a fixed period of written notice informing him or her of your intention to quit the property. This is known as a Notice to Quit. Your landlord also has to provide you with notice if he or she wants you to move out.

You will usually have a joint tenancy if someone else's name is on the tenancy agreement as well as your own. This might be one other person or a number of people. Joint tenants have exactly the same rights and responsibilities as each other.

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.

There are many reasons why you may want to leave a tenancy early. However, unless there is a clause allowing you to do so in your tenancy agreement, it can be difficult to leave once you’ve signed a rental contract.

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.

Moving home is stressful. Once you’ve given your landlord Notice to Quit, you should start planning your move. You need to think about disconnecting your utilities and finding alternative accommodation.

If you are a tenant of the Housing Executive or a housing association, your tenancy could be ended using if your landlord thinks you’ve left the property without following the right procedure.

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.

Most tenants pay a security deposit when they move into a property. This is the tenant's money and should be returned at the end of the tenancy unless the tenant owes the landlord money. The deposit should be returned in full unless the landlord has suffered a genuine financial loss as a result of your actions. If your landlord has unfairly kept some of your deposit you should try to get this money back.

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