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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Process for ending a tenancy

Advice for landlords in Northern Ireland

This page is for landlords operating in Northern Ireland.  You can find advice for tenants elsewhere on our website. Private landlords in Northern Ireland can call Landlord Advice on 028 9024 5640 and choose option 1. 

You and your tenants have to follow a certain process to end the tenancy. You can end up in court if you, or your agent, does not follow this process. 

You need to give your tenants written notice to move out. Take them to court if they don't leave the property when they were supposed to. It is illegal to evict a tenant without going through the court process. 

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.

If your tenants' original fixed term has expired and they have not signed a new tenancy agreement they have become periodic tenants. You must serve a valid Notice to Quit on your periodic tenants if you wish them to vacate the property. The amount of notice you must give depends on how long the tenants have lived in the property.

Tenants should usually tell you in writing if they're planning on moving out. They may not have to do this if they're leaving at the end of their contract. You'll need to arrange a time to inspect the property, return the deposit and decide whether to rent the property again or not. 

You must follow due process of law when evicting a tenant. If you aren't careful in following the correct legal procedure you could be found guilty of carrying out an illegal eviction.

A tenancy deposit is the tenant's money and should be returned at the end of the tenancy. The deadline for returning this depends on whether the deposit was protected or not. You can make deductions from this deposit where you have suffered a loss as a result of the tenants' action or inaction. However, a deposit cannot be used to reimburse you against normal wear and tear and any deductions made from the deposit must be justifiable in court.

If your tenants have left the property owing you arrears or have caused substantial damage in the property you can take court action against them. If they owe less than £3000 you can take a case in the Small Claims Court where you will not need a solicitor. Your tenants may also make a small claim against you if they feel you have unfairly kept their deposit.