How a tenant can end a tenancy

Information for tenants on ending a tenancy

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The process of ending a tenancy

Any tenant wishing to end a tenancy should send or give the landlord a notice of termination giving the landlord the required period of notice. 

Please note that legislation introduced on 16th July 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. 

A breach of landlord responsibilities

A tenant only has to give a reason to end a tenancy if the landlord has breached his/her responsibilities.

The tenant should first write to the landlord, state the breach of responsibilities, and give reasonable time – usually 14 days – to resolve the problem. If the landlord does not resolve the problem, the tenant can give notice to end the tenancy as directed above.

If there is a high and imminent risk of death, serious injury or danger to the structure of the property as a result of the landlord’s failure to comply with their responsibilities, the tenant only has to give 7 days notice. Warning letters do not need to be sent in this situation.

A tenant should give the required notice and serve serving a valid notice of termination.   

Serving a valid notice of termination

Invalid notices of termination are a common issue in dispute cases and in 2016, 43% of notices of termination were invalid. This was due to many reasons, the most common being:

  • insufficient notice being given (day one is counted from the day after serving the notice) and
  • not allowing the 14 day warning letter for rent arrears to expire before serving a 28-day notice of termination.

To serve a valid Notice of Termination

  • Ensure the notice is in writing
  • Ensure you give the required notice period
  • Include the ground for the termination of the tenancy in the  notice
  • If subletting please refer to the checklist for landlords as you take on the role
  • Ensure the notice is served on the party
  • State that any issue as to the validity of the notice may be referred to the RTB within 28 days of the receipt of the notice
  • Sign the notice of termination

Please see Sample Notices of Termination for further information and please use these sample notices as templates for writing your own notice to avoid an invalid notice.

What happens if a Tenant fails to give the required notice period

A tenant can give a landlord a shorter period of notice than required, if the landlord agrees to this at the time the tenant is seeking to terminate the tenancy. However, if there is no agreement reached with the landlord and the tenant leaves a rented dwelling and does not serve a notice of termination or gives inadequate notice, the landlord may be entitledto the rent for the period of the notice that should have been given.  A landlord may be entitled to retain part or all of the deposit to cover this amount.