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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 introduced new requirements for notice periods with effect from 4 December 2015 – see ‘Notice periods’ below.

Further provisions of the 2015 Act, which are not yet in effect, will place extra obligations on landlords as regards termination of tenancies.

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. 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 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 Repossession of rented social housing for information on procedures that local authorities must follow if asking their tenants to leave.

If you are renting a room that is part of your landlord's home, your tenancy is not covered by the residential tenancies legislation. However, if you are renting a self-contained flat or apartment in your landlord’s home, your tenancy is covered and your landlord must register it with the PRTB. See our document on sharing accommodation with your landlord for more information.

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.

Exception: The provisions on security of tenure are in Part 4 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004. If you are renting a self-contained flat or apartment in your landlord’s home, which was originally part of the main house, your landlord can choose to opt out of these provisions. This option is available under Section 25 of the Act. You must get notice in writing, before the start of the tenancy, if landlord wishes to take this option.

Your landlord must always give you notice when asking you to leave - see 'Notice periods' and 'Notice of termination' below.

Providing reasons for termination

Tenancies that are governed by Part 4 of the 2004 Act 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.

Sections 28 and 29 of the 2015 Act provide for extra information and documents to be required in certain circumstances, including those listed above. These sections are not yet in effect.

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

Threshold runs a Tenancy Protection Service for people in Dublin and Cork who are getting Rent Supplement and are at risk of losing their home. Read more about this service. Outside of Dublin or Cork, contact the local office that administers your Rent Supplement, as soon as possible.

Notice periods

The length of notice required depends on the length of your tenancy. As noted above, the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015 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 must first give you written notification of the amount owing and must give you 14 days to pay the arrears. If you still have not paid 14 days after you got this notification, your landlord can then give you 28 days’ notice of termination.

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 2004 Act 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 or is a fixed-term tenancy
  • State that any issue issue as to the validity of the notice or the right of the landlord to serve it must be referred to the PRTB within 28 days from the receipt of the notice.

The PRTB provides sample notices of termination.

Slips or omissions

Section 30 of the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015 deals with slips or omissions that are contained in the notice or that occurred during its service. This section provides that, when dealing with a dispute in respect of a notice of termination, an adjudicator (or the Tenancy Tribunal) may make a determination that such a slip or omission shall not of itself render the notice of termination invalid, if the adjudicator or Tribunal is satisfied that:

  • The slip or omission concerned does not prejudice, in a material respect, the notice of termination, and
  • The notice of termination is otherwise in compliance with the provisions of the Act

This section applies to notices of termination served after 8 January 2016.

Illegal eviction

If your landlord locks you out or physically evicts you, you may be able to apply for an injunction to force them 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

Residential Tenancies Board

PO Box 47
Clonakilty
Co. Cork
Ireland

Tel: 0818 30 30 37
Fax: 0818 30 30 39
Homepage: http://www.rtb.ie/


Page edited: 23 March 2016