Rent arrears and Notices of Termination

A tenant is obliged to pay their rent in full and on time until the tenancy ends even where a dispute has arisen with the landlord.

It is important that at all times rent is paid and where it is not, it is a breach of the tenancy agreement.

Rent arrears within the first 6 months

If a tenant is in the dwelling for less than 6 months, a landlord can serve a 28 day Notice of Termination without giving any reason (if there is no lease agreement in place). If a landlord decides to give a reason of rent arrears then the process set out below must be followed.

Rent arrears in a tenancy that has lasted longer than 6 months (or a Part 4 tenancy)

Please note that legislation introduced on 11th January 2021 has brought in changes to procedures on ending a tenancy as a result of rent arrears, especially if a tenant has been impacted financially by Covid-19. For the latest information, please click here.

If a landlord wants to end a tenancy because of rent arrears and the tenant has been renting the property for more than 6 months then a two step procedure must be followed:

1. Serve a 28-Day Warning Notice for failure to pay rent: The landlord must serve a written notice to the tenant informing him or her of the amount of rent that is due and that they have a minimum of 28 days to pay the rent owed. A landlord must serve a written rent arrears warning notice; an email or text message will not suffice. The warning notice must set out the full amount of rent arrears owed by the tenant and explain that failure to pay 100% of the monies owed within the time provided will result in a Notice of Termination being served. A sample warning notice for rent arrears is available for download here.

From 1st August 2020, there is a new responsibility for landlords to provide a copy of the 28-day written rent arrears warning notice that was served on the tenant to the RTB. When issuing a warning notice, a landlord must send a copy to the RTB as soon as possible. The 28-day period will count from the date when both the tenant and the RTB have received the warning notice, so landlords are encouraged to send both notices at the same time. A copy of the warning notice should be submitted to the RTB by email at

Please note that failure to submit a copy of the warning notice to the RTB will invalidate any related Notice of Termination.

2. Serve a 28-day Notice of Termination of the tenancy. If the tenant fails to pay the rent due in the 28-day period given in the warning notice, the landlord can end the tenancy by serving a 28-day a notice of termination. This applies in most instances, except where a tenant has filled in a Self-Declaration form stating that they have been financially impacted by Covid-19. In these instances, the tenant cannot be made to leave their accommodation until on or after 13th April 2021 and the landlord must give a minimum of 90 day's notice to vacate. 

There is a new obligation on landlords to serve the Notice of Termination on their tenant and to send a copy of it to the RTB on the same day. The requirement to send the copy on the same day applies from 2nd August onwards and applies specifically to Notices of Termination based on rent arrears only. Please note that if the landlord does not send the copy of the Notice of Termination to both the tenant and RTB, the Notice of Termination will be invalid.

Please note that legislation introduced on 11th January 2021 has brought in changes to procedures on ending a tenancy as a result of rent arrears, especially if a tenant has been impacted financially by Covid-19. For the latest information, please click here.

Notice periods

It is important that correct notice periods are given. The first day of a notice period is the day after the notice is served. Therefore if the notice is served on a Monday the period of notice commences from the Tuesday. The notice periods required depend on the length of the tenancy and the reason for issuing the notice in some circumstance. Whilst not a specific requirement under the legislation, it may be prudent to give an additional couple of days notice to ensure that the tenant receives the required notice period. See our Sample Notices of Termination page.

Submitting a rent arrears case when the tenant has vacated

You can pursue a case against a tenant who has vacated by submitting a dispute resolution application. If you are not in possession of a current address for the tenant, please provide a PPS number for the tenant when submitting your application. The RTB will make every effort to source a current contact address for the tenant by searching our own registration database, and other government approved databases but please be aware that if a tenant has moved to a new location it may take a number of weeks before the new address is updated on the data base.

Dispute cases

The RTB prioritise cases where there are rent arrears. A landlord can submit a dispute application to the RTB for rent arrears. The landlord can also serve a notice of termination for breach of tenants responsibilities.

A tenant must continue to pay their rent in full until the tenancy ends and while any disputes are ongoing. Where a dispute has arisen between a tenant and landlord and it has failed to be resolved, a dispute can be referred to the RTB. If a tenant has withheld payment of rent in this instance, they should recommence paying rent and wait for the dispute to be heard. 

If the tenant is in receipt of Rent Supplement and is not paying rent then the Community Welfare Service for the area should be contacted to have the supplement suspended until the case is heard.