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If your landlord wants you to leave

Introduction

The law on residential tenancies requires private landlords and approved housing bodies (housing associations) 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

The Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015, which amends the Residential Tenancies Act 2004, is gradually being brought into operation. It increased the required notice periods for terminating tenancies of 5 years or over – see ‘Notice periods’ below - and brought housing association tenancies under the remit of the Private Residential Tenancies Board, which is now the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB).

Since 9 May 2016, landlords must provide extra documentation when terminating a tenancy in certain situations - see ‘Reasons and notice of termination’ below.

The Law Reform Commission has produced a consolidated version of the 2004 Act as of 9 May 2016, incorporating all amendments in effect on that date.

Scope of the residential tenancies legislation

A private residential tenancy means a tenancy that is agreed privately between a landlord and a tenant. If you are getting Rent Supplement, you are probably renting from a private landlord, so you would be covered by the residential tenancies legislation. It also covers tenancies under the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) and the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP). Since 7 April 2016, it covers housing association tenancies.

If you are renting from a local authority, 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 this legislation. However, if you are renting a self-contained flat or apartment in your landlord’s home, your tenancy is covered. 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. Your landlord must always give you valid written notice when asking you to leave - see 'Reasons and notice of termination' and 'Notice periods' below.

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 RTB'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).

Exceptions

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 under Section 25 of the Act. You must get notice in writing, before the start of the tenancy, if the landlord wishes to take this option.

Tenants of certain dwellings let by housing associations (transitional dwellings) cannot gain the benefit of Part 4 rights.

When you can be asked to leave

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. Only 7 days’ notice is required in the first 6 months if your behaviour is seriously anti-social or threatens the fabric of the property.

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 3 specific reasons:

  • If the landlord needs the property for their own use or for an immediate family member (this only applies to private landlords)
  • 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)

See 'Reasons and notice of termination' below for more details.

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.

Reasons and notice of termination

If your landlord wants you to leave, they must serve you with a valid 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 RTB within 28 days from the receipt of the notice.

In addition, since 9 May 2016, the landlord must provide additional details in certain situations and, in some cases, a statutory declaration. The RTB provides sample notices of termination, giving the details required in each situation.

If the property is being sold

If the landlord intends to sell the property within 3 months of the termination of your tenancy, the notice of termination must state that “The reason for the termination of the tenancy is due to the fact that the landlord intends to sell the dwelling, for full consideration, within 3 months after the termination of the tenancy”. The notice must also include a statutory declaration stating the landlord’s intention to sell.

The RTB’s sample notice of termination due to intention to sell (pdf) contains the required information and a sample statutory declaration.

Termination for 3 other specific reasons

There are particular rules if the landlord gives one of the following 3 reasons in the notice of termination:

  • They need the property for their own use or for an immediate family member
  • They plan to refurbish the property substantially and need vacant possession
  • They intend to change the use of the property

The detailed rules are outlined below. In addition, if any of these 3 reasons is cited, you must also be told that if the dwelling becomes available for letting within a certain period 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.)

Detailed rules

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 person’s name; their relationship to the landlord; and how long they will occupy the dwelling. The notice must also include a statutory declaration stating that the landlord needs the property for their own use or for an immediate family member. The RTB’s sample notice of termination when the landlord needs the property (pdf) contains the required information and a sample statutory declaration.

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. If planning permission is required, the notice must be accompanied by a copy of the permission. If planning permission is not required, the notice must state this and must provide the name of the contractor (if any); the dates of the intended works; and their proposed duration – see the RTB’s sample notice of termination due to intention to refurbish (pdf).

If the landlord intends to change the use of the property (and has obtained any necessary planning permission) they must state the nature of the change in writing, along with the notice of termination. The notice must confirm that any necessary planning permission has been received. The RTB’s sample notice of termination due to change of use (pdf) contains the required information.

Redress

Under section 56 of the 2004 Act, you can complain to the RTB in the following situations:

  • If your landlord has ended your tenancy for one of the 3 reasons specified above, the property becomes available for re-letting and they do not offer you a tenancy
  • If they did not carry out the intention stated in the notice of termination – either one of the above 3 reasons or sale of the property

If the RTB upholds your complaint, it may direct the landlord to pay you damages or to reinstate your tenancy, or both.

Sample notices for termination in other situations

The RTB’s sample notices cover several other situations, for instance if the landlord is terminating your tenancy due to rent arrears. In this case you must have received a written warning notice at least 14 days before the notice of termination is issued – see ‘Notice periods’ below. The RTB’s sample (pdf) contains both of these notices.

Sample notices of termination are also available for breach of tenant obligations (pdf), anti-social behaviour (pdf) and ending a further Part 4 tenancy within the first 6 months (pdf) (no specific reason is required). There is also a sample notice for when the dwelling is no longer suited to your household’s needs (pdf). In this case, the notice must be accompanied by a signed and dated statement of the number of bed spaces in the property and the reasons why it is no longer suitable, having regard to the bed spaces and the size and composition of your household.

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

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

Notice periods

The length of notice required depends on the length of your tenancy. 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.

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 than 7 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

If you are not keeping your obligations, your landlord only needs to give you 28 days’ notice, regardless of the length of your tenancy. However, if your behaviour is seriously anti-social or threatens the fabric of the property, and your tenancy is not covered by Part 4, the landlord only needs to give you 7 days’ notice. Section 17 (1) (a) and (b) of the 2004 Act sets out the type of seriously anti-social behaviour for which a 7-day notice may be allowed.

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.

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 RTB 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 home 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 RTB, 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

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

5 Prospect Hill
Galway
Ireland
H91 HC1H

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 303 037 or 00353 766 887 350
Fax: 0818 303 039
Homepage: http://www.rtb.ie/


Page edited: 13 July 2016