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If your landlord wants you to leave

Introduction

The law on private residential tenancies requires landlords to follow certain procedures before asking a tenant to leave rented accommodation. They must also give the tenant a minimum amount of notice, depending on the duration of the tenancy.

New legislation

For tenancies of 5 years or longer in duration, the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015 (pdf) introduced new requirements for notice periods with effect from 4 December 2015 – see ‘Notice periods’ below.

Read more on the websites of the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) and Threshold.

Scope of the residential tenancies legislation

A private residential tenancy means a tenancy that is agreed privately between a landlord and a tenant. Most such tenancies are covered by the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 (the RTA). If you are getting Rent Supplement, you are probably renting from a private landlord, so you would be covered by the Act.

If you are renting a room in your landlord's home or renting from a local authority or a social housing organisation (such as housing association accommodation or student accommodation let by a recognised educational institution) you are not covered by this legislation.

See our document on the Rent a Room Scheme for more information on tenants renting rooms in their landlord's homes and see Repossession of rented social housing for more information on the rights of local authority tenants.


Terminating a tenancy

How easily your landlord can end your tenancy depends on the type of tenancy you have and how long you have been in the accommodation.

If you have a fixed-term tenancy, the landlord cannot normally end the tenancy unless you are in breach of your obligations – read more on the PRTB's website.

After the first 6 months you acquire rights to security of tenure, even if you have a fixed-term tenancy (of 1 year, for example) – read more in our document on security of tenure for private tenants.

Your landlord must always give you notice when asking you to leave - see Notice periods and Notice of termination below. With effect from 4 December 2015, the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015 (pdf) has increased the notice periods for tenancies of 5 years or longer in duration.

Further provisions of the Act, which are not yet in effect, will place extra obligations on landlords as regards termination of tenancies.

Providing reasons for termination

Tenancies run in 4-year cycles. During the first 6 months of a tenancy, the landlord can ask you to leave without giving a reason (unless you have a fixed-term tenancy) but must serve a valid written notice of termination, allowing a minimum 28-day notice period.

For a tenancy that has lasted between 6 months and 4 years – known as a Part 4 tenancy – the landlord can end it only in the following circumstances:

  • If you do not comply with the obligations of the tenancy
  • If the property is no longer suited to your needs (for example, if it is overcrowded)
  • If the landlord intends to sell the property within 3 months

or for the following specific purposes:

  • If the landlord needs the property for him/herself or for an immediate family member
  • If the landlord intends to refurbish the property substantially
  • If the landlord plans to change the business use of the property (for example, convert it to office use)

When the 4-year cycle of the tenancy has ended, a new tenancy starts, known as a further Part 4 tenancy. As at the start of your original tenancy, your landlord may end this tenancy at any time during the next 6 months without having to give a reason – though you must now get 112 days’ notice (16 weeks). After 6 months you again acquire security of tenure and you are now 6 months into a further 4-year cycle.

Termination for specific purposes

If the landlord needs the property for their own use or for an immediate family member, you must be given the following information in writing, along with the notice of termination:

  • The name of the person
  • Their relationship to the landlord and
  • How long they will occupy the dwelling

You must also be told that if the person leaves within 6 months and you have given the landlord your contact details, the landlord must offer you a tenancy. However, this requirement does not apply if your tenancy is being ended due to a breach of your obligations, overcrowding, the property being sold, or change of use.

If the landlord intends to refurbish the property to the extent that it needs to be vacant, they must state the nature of the works in writing, along with the notice of termination. You must also be told that if the dwelling becomes available for letting and you have given the landlord your contact details, they must offer you a tenancy. Again, this requirement does not apply if your tenancy is being ended due to a breach of your obligations, overcrowding, the property being sold, or change of use.

If the landlord intends to change the use of the property (and has obtained any necessary planning permission) they must state the change of use in writing, along with the notice of termination. You must also be told that if the dwelling becomes available for re-letting within 6 months and you have given the landlord your contact details, they must offer you a tenancy. This requirement does not apply if your tenancy is being ended due to a breach of your obligations, overcrowding, or the property being sold.

If your landlord ends your tenancy for a specific purpose and subsequently does not carry out the intention stated, you can report them to the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB), which will investigate your claim and take further action as appropriate.

Sustaining your tenancy

A homelessness prevention campaign for people who are renting at present, and who are worried about losing their home, aims to prevent such tenancies from breaking down. It focuses mainly on families on Rent Supplement in private rented accommodation. Threshold’s Tenancy Protection Service is the main point of contact – see Where to apply below. Under an agreed protocol, which applies to the Dublin region and Cork city only, the Service can refer tenants to the Department of Social Protection for review of their Rent Supplement where appropriate.

Notice periods

The length of notice required depends on the length of your tenancy. As noted above, the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015 (pdf) increased the notice periods for tenancies of 5 years or longer in duration, with effect from 4 December 2015. Previously, the notice period for a tenancy over 4 years in duration was 112 days and this requirement still applies to notices of termination of such tenancies that were served before 4 December 2015.

Length of tenancy Notice that the landlord must give
Less than 6 months 4 weeks (28 days)
6 months or longer but less than 1 year 5 weeks (35 days)
1 year or longer but less than 2 years 6 weeks (42 days)
2 years or longer but less than 3 years 8 weeks (56 days)
3 years or longer but less than 4 years 12 weeks (84 days)
4 years or longer but less than 5 years 16 weeks (112 days)
5 years or longer but less than 6 years 20 weeks (140 days)
6 years or longer but less than7 years 24 weeks (168 days)
7 years or longer but less than 8 years 28 weeks (196 days)
8 years or longer 32 weeks (224 days)

Exceptions to required notice periods

Your landlord can give less notice if you are not keeping your obligations (28 days) or if there is serious anti-social behaviour (7 days). Anti-social behaviour includes violence, threats or intimidation as well as any persistent behaviour that interferes with neighbours.

If your rent is in arrears, your landlord can give notice of 28 days, subject to the following:

  • The landlord gave you written notification of the amount owing and you still had not paid 14 days after you got this notification
  • For a Part 4 tenancy, the landlord also notified you that you have breached the terms of the tenancy and of his entitlement to terminate the tenancy if the breach was not remedied within a specified reasonable period

Landlords and tenants can agree shorter notice periods than the minimum periods set out above, but they can only do so at the time they decide to terminate the tenancy. It is illegal to agree a shorter notice period at the start of the tenancy.

Landlords and tenants can also agree longer notice periods, but the maximum is 70 days when the tenancy has lasted less than 6 months.

Notice of termination

If your landlord wants you to leave, they must serve you with a notice of termination. The notice can be posted to you, be given to you in person or be left for you at the property.

Section 62 of the RTA sets down the requirements for a valid notice of termination. In order to be valid, a notice of termination must:

  • Be in writing
  • Be signed by the landlord (or an authorised agent)
  • Specify the date of termination of the tenancy
  • State that you have the whole 24 hours of the termination date to vacate the property
  • Specify the date of the notice itself
  • State the reason for termination (if a tenancy has lasted more than 6 months)
  • State that any issue with the notice must be referred to the PRTB within 28 days from the receipt of the notice.

The PRTB provides an example notice of termination (pdf).

Illegal eviction

If your landlord locks you out or physically evicts you, you may be able to apply for an injunction to force him/her to let you back into the property or you may apply to the PRTB to do so on your behalf. Similarly if your landlord cuts off water, gas or electricity, you may be able to take legal action to restore the supply. In either case, you should get legal advice and assistance before you proceed. Your landlord cannot remove your possessions from your flat or house property while your tenancy is still in existence (though after a tenancy has ended, a landlord is under no legal obligation to store or maintain belongings).

If your landlord is going to refer a dispute to the PRTB, you should get advice about your situation from Threshold or a solicitor. The Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC) operates a network of legal advice clinics throughout the State. These clinics are confidential, free of charge and open to all. Contact your nearest Citizens Information Centre for information on FLAC services in your area. FLAC also runs an information and referral line during office hours for basic legal information.

Where to apply

Threshold

21 Stoneybatter
Dublin 7
Ireland

Opening Hours:Mon-Fri 9.30 am - 5 pm
Tel:1890 334 334
Fax:(01) 677 2407
Homepage: http://www.threshold.ie
Email: advice@threshold.ie


Threshold

Dublin Outreach Clinic
Co. Council Office
Grove Road
Blanchardstown
Co. Dublin

Opening Hours:Tuesday 2pm - 5pm
Tel: (01) 635 3651

Tenancy Protection Service

Opening Hours:Monday to Friday, 9 am to 9 pm
Locall:1800 454 454
Homepage: http://www.threshold.ie
Email: tps@threshold.ie

Threshold

22 South Mall
Cork
Ireland

Opening Hours:Mon - Fri: 9 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 5 pm
Tel:(021) 427 8848
Fax:(021) 480 5111
Homepage: http://www.threshold.ie
Email: advicecork@threshold.ie

Threshold

3 Victoria Place
Merchant's Road
Galway
Ireland

Opening Hours:Mon-Fri 9.30 am - 5 pm
Tel:(091) 563 080
Fax:(091) 569 273
Homepage: http://www.threshold.ie
Email: advicegalway@threshold.ie

Private Residential Tenancies Board

PO Box 47
Clonakilty
Co. Cork
Ireland

Tel:+353 (0) 818 30 30 37
Fax:+353 (0) 818 30 30 39
Homepage: http://www.prtb.ie/


Page edited: 23 December 2015