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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Leaving tenancy early

Tenants who are subject to a fixed term agreement should not move out until that term has passed. However, that may not stop a tenant trying to leave the property before the term expires. If this happens, it may be best to negotiate an exit agreement with your tenant that reimburses you for any out of pocket costs.

Your tenants are entitled to serve you with a Notice to Quit and must do so if they wish to vacate the property. This can happen with periodic tenants or tenants in a fixed term who wish to end the tenancy early. If your tenants leave during the period of their tenancy agreement, you can take court action against them to be reimbursed for unpaid rent.

You have to let your landlord know if you want to move out of your rented home. The law says you do this in writing a certain amount of time before the date you move out. This written notice is called a "notice to quit". 

Landlords should also give tenants written notice to quit if they want a tenant 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.

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.

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.

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.

A tenancy agreement is a legally binding contract, just like a contract for a mobile phone or broadband service. Once you sign or commit to a tenancy you are obliged to continue paying rent until either the landlord agrees to end the contract, the contract comes to a natural end and you have indicated that you do not wish it to continue, or the property is no longer available for you because someone else has moved in. 

You may be able to end your tenancy early if the contract includes a break clause.  These are rare and may come with conditions attached.  Check your tenancy agreement carefully to see if it allows you to leave before the end date.

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