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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Giving and receiving Notice to Quit

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. 

What should you do if you want to move out of your tenancy?

Your steps will depend on

  • if you have a tenancy agreement
  • if your tenancy agreement has already ended
  • what your tenancy agreement says about notice, and
  • how long you've lived in your rented home.

I've never had a tenancy agreement

Your tenancy lasts for 6 months unless you have agreed a longer or shorter period with your landlord.

You need to write to your landlord at least 28 days before the day you want to leave. You must give more notice if you have lived in the property for more than 5 years.

If you want to leave before the end of the 6 months, you will have to negotiate with your landlord.

My tenancy agreement is ending soon

You should write to your landlord at least a month before the contract is due to end to explain that you will be moving out.

You will have to give more notice if

  • your contract asks for a longer notice period, or
  • you have lived in the property for more than 5 years.

Read your contract to find out how you should end your tenancy. Call our helpline if you are not sure what the contract means. 

My tenancy agreement has already ended

The law says you must write to your landlord at least 28 days before you move out to tell him or her that you are leaving. 

You will have to give more notice if

  • your contract asks for a longer notice period, or
  • you have lived in the property for more than 5 years.

My tenancy agreement is not ending for a while

You will need to negotiate with your landlord to see if you can move out before the contract ends.  

Notice if you've been renting your home for a long time

You must give your landlord more than 28 days' notice if you have lived in your property for over 5 years. You have to give

  • 8 weeks' notice if you've lived there for between 5 and 10 years, and
  • 12 weeks' notice if you've lived there for more than 10 years.

Your landlord has to give the same amount notice to you. 

Notice to quit changes because of coronavirus

Since 5 May 2020, landlords have to give tenants 12 weeks' notice if they want the tenant to move out. This is true in all cases, even if you owe the landlord rent or the landlord wants to live in the property. 

The longer notice period only applies to a notice to quit given to a tenant.  

What happens if you don't give your landlord written notice that you are moving out?

Your landlord can say that the tenancy is still running if you did not give written notice. This means you are still responsible for paying rent. The landlord might keep your deposit or take you to court to get this rent. 

What happens if your landlord gives you notice to quit?

Speak to our advisers if your landlord has asked you to leave your home. 

Our advisers will check if the landlord's notice is valid. They can give you advice on

Your landlord has to follow the proper legal process to evict you. The landlord is not allowed to physically remove you, or your items from the property. The landlord cannot change the locks. If your landlord tries to do any of these things, get advice immediately. 

Need help solving a problem?

You should always get advice if you are having problems with a tenancy. You can contact Housing Rights for advice on your rights. Housing Rights can also provide a mediation service if you and your landlord are having problems and need an independent person to help resolve these.