If your landlord wants you to leave
By law private landlords, approved housing bodies and people who let student-specific accommodation must follow certain rules before asking you to leave your rented accommodation. They must also give you a minimum amount of notice, depending on how long your tenancy has lasted.
Terminating a tenancy
If your landlord wants you to leave your accommodation, they must serve you with a written notice of termination - see 'Notice of termination' and 'Notice periods' below.
If you have a fixed-term tenancy, your landlord cannot end the tenancy unless you are in breach of your obligations – read more on the RTB's website.
However, if you do not have a fixed-term tenancy, the landlord can ask you to leave during the first 6 months without giving a reason. They must serve a valid written notice of termination and give you a minimum 28-day notice period.
In the first 6 months, your landlord only needs to give you 7 days’ notice if your behaviour is seriously anti-social or threatens the fabric of the property. See 'Exceptions to required notice periods' below for more information.
After the first 6 months you get security of tenure rights, even if you have a fixed-term tenancy (of 1 year, for example). Security of tenure is your right to stay in rented accommodation for a set amount of time.
Security of tenure and terminating a tenancy
The amount of time you can stay in rented accommodation after the first 6 months of a tenancy depends on when your tenancy began.
If your tenancy was created after 10 June 2022, you have a tenancy of unlimited duration. This means if you have rented somewhere for 6 months, you have the right to stay in that accommodation indefinitely (no end date), unless the landlord wants to terminate your tenancy for one of the allowed reasons. See ‘What is a valid reason for ending a tenancy after the first 6 months’ below.
If your tenancy was created before 10 June 2022, you have the right to stay in your rented accommodation for up to 6 years after you have rented for 6 months. At the end of these 6 years, your landlord can end your tenancy without giving a reason, as allowed under the old rules, see ‘Exceptions to the valid reasons for ending a tenancy’ below. But, if the landlord does not end your tenancy at this stage, it automatically becomes a tenancy of unlimited duration and has no end date.
What is a valid reason for ending a tenancy after the first 6 months?
Generally, your landlord can only end a tenancy after the first 6 months in the following circumstances:
- If you do not comply with the obligations of the tenancy, for example, by not paying your rent on time
- If the property is no longer suited to your needs, for example, if it is too small
- If the landlord intends to sell the property within 9 months. However, this may not apply if the landlord plans to sell 10 or more dwellings in a development within a 6-month period – see ‘Restriction on terminating when selling multiple properties’ below
- 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 plans to change the use of the property (for example, convert it from residential use to office use)
- If the landlord intends to refurbish the property substantially
Exceptions to the valid reasons for ending a tenancy
There are certain situations when these valid reasons for ending a tenancy do not apply, see below.
Landlords’ right to end certain tenancies after 6 years
If your tenancy was created before 11 June 2022, your landlord can terminate your tenancy for any reason when you have rented for 6 years. The landlord must:
- Serve a notice of termination before the end of the 6 years, and
- Give a notice period that expires on or after the end of the tenancy
If the tenancy is not ended after 6 years, a new tenancy will begin. This new tenancy will be a tenancy of unlimited duration and the above exception will no longer apply.
By June 2028, all tenancies will be tenancies of unlimited duration and the above exception will no longer apply. This is because all existing 6-year cycle tenancies will have ended by then.
Exceptions to Part 4 rights
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 the Part 4 provisions. If your landlord wants to take this option, you must get notice of this in writing, before the start of the tenancy.
Tenants of certain properties let by housing associations do not get Part 4 rights. For example, people living in transitional housing. Transitional housing is temporary supported accommodation that helps people move from homelessness to independent living in permanent accommodation.
Part 4 rights do not apply to tenants in student-specific accommodation.
Additional rules when ending a tenancy for a valid reason
Additional rules apply if your landlord ends your tenancy for some of the valid reasons, see below
Requirement to offer property back to the tenant
If your landlord ends your tenancy for one of the below reasons and the property then becomes available to rent again, the landlord must offer the property back to you within 12 months of the expiry of your notice period.
They must do this if they ended your tenancy because they:
- Planned to sell the property within 9 months
- Needed the property for their own use or for an immediate family member
- Planned to change the use of the property
- Planned to refurbish the property substantially
This requirement has applied since 4 June 2019 and came in under the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2019.
Restriction on terminating tenancies when selling multiple properties
A landlord cannot terminate a tenancy of more than 6 months if they intend to sell 10 or more dwellings in a development within a 6-month period, unless:
- They can show that the market value with a sitting tenant is over 20% below the market value with vacant possession, and
- That preventing them from terminating the tenancy would be unduly onerous on them or would cause them undue hardship
This provision is often called the ‘Tyrrelstown’ amendment and it is provided for under Section 40 of the 2016 Act.
Notice of termination
If your landlord wants you to leave, they must serve you with a valid written notice of termination. The notice can be posted to you, be given to you in person or be left for you at your address. Emails and text messages do not qualify as valid notices of termination. If it appears that you are not living in the property, the landlord can affix the notice to the outside of the property.
What is a valid notice of termination?
The law sets out the requirements for a valid notice of termination. It must:
- Be in writing (an email is not sufficient)
- 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. (This does not have to be included for tenancies in student-specific accommodation.)
- State that any issue about 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.
The landlord must give 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.
Notice of Termination Return Form
If your tenancy has lasted more than 6 months your landlord must send a copy of the notice of termination with a completed Notice of Termination Return Form (pdf) to the RTB. This must be done within 28 days of the expiration of the tenancy termination date. You can find out more on the RTB's website.
If the property is being sold
If the landlord intends to sell the property within 9 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 9 months after the termination of the tenancy”. The landlord must enter into a contract for sale within 9 months of the termination date. The notice must also include a statutory declaration stating the landlord’s intention to sell.
If the landlord is terminating a tenancy of more than 6 months based on the ‘Tyrrelstown’ amendment (see above), the statutory declaration must also state that:
- The market value with a sitting tenant is over 20% below the market value with vacant possession, and
- Preventing them from terminating the tenancy would be unduly onerous on them or would cause them undue hardship
The RTB’s sample notice of termination due to intention to sell contains the required information and a sample statutory declaration.
If a landlord ends your tenancy because they are selling the property and it becomes available for rent again, the landlord must offer it back to you within 12 months of the expiry of your notice period.
If the landlord needs the property for their own use or for an immediate family member
If the landlord ends your tenancy because they need 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
- 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 contains the required information and a sample statutory declaration.
If the landlord is substantially refurbishing the property
A tenancy can only be ended for this reason if the proposed works are substantial and mean that the property will have to be vacated. They must state the nature of the works in writing, along with the notice of termination. They must state:
- If planning permission is needed
- The name of the contractor (if any)
- The dates the intended works are to be carried out
- The proposed duration of the works
They must also include a certificate from a registered professional stating that:
- The works would be a health and safety risk to the occupants
- The property should be vacated while the works are being completed
- The length of time the property should be vacated in order to complete the works (this must be longer than 3 weeks)
See the RTB’s website for more information as well as a sample notice of termination due to intention to refurbish.
The landlord must offer the property back to the original tenant when the refurbishment works have been completed
If the landlord wants to change the use of the property
If the landlord wants to change the use of the property the landlord must include a statement setting out the nature of the change in writing, 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 contains the required information.
If the landlord ends your tenancy because they are changing its use, and the property then becomes available for rent again, the landlord must offer it back to you. This must be done within 12 months of the expiry of the tenants notice period.
If you have a complaint about the reason your landlord gives for ending your tenancy
You can complain to the RTB if your landlord ends a tenancy because they are selling the property, changing its use, substantially refurbishing it, or because they need it for themselves or an immediate family member and:
- The property becomes available for re-letting and they do not offer you a tenancy
- They did not carry out the intention stated in the notice of termination
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 ending a tenancy, 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 28 days before the notice of termination is issued – see ‘Notice periods’ below.
Sample notices of termination are also available for breach of tenant obligations and anti-social behaviour. There is also a sample notice for when the dwelling is no longer suited to your household’s needs. 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.
Minor errors in a notice of termination
When dealing with a dispute about a notice of termination, an adjudicator (or the Tenancy Tribunal) can overlook a minor error or omission in a notice of termination. They can do this as long as the error does not prejudice the notice of termination and the notice would otherwise be valid. This is known as the ‘slip rule’ and it is set-out in Section 30 of the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015
A ‘remedial notice’ can be issued that fixes the error with the original notice. For more information on remedial notices see the RTB’s website.
The length of notice required depends on the length of your tenancy.
|Length of tenancy||Notice that the landlord must give|
|Less than 6 months||28 days|
|6 months or longer but less than 1 year||90 days|
|1 year or longer but less than 3 years||120 days|
|3 years or longer but less than 7 years||180 days|
|7 years or longer but less than 8 years||196 days|
|More than 8 years||224 days|
Certain notice periods are due to increase in July 2022. These changes are set-out in amendments to the Regulation of Providers of Building Works and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2022. These changes are not yet in effect.
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, 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.
Usually, if you haven’t paid your rent, your landlord must send you a written rent arrears warning notice before they can issue a notice of termination. The rent arrears warning notice must state the amount of rent you owe and give you 28 days to pay it. The landlord must send a copy of the rent arrears warning notice to the RTB. The 28 days you have to pay the rent arrears counts from the date you and the RTB receive the warning notice. If the landlord does not send the warning notice to you and the RTB, a notice of termination will not be valid.
If you do not pay the rent arrears in the 28 days, your landlord can then give you 28 days’ notice of termination. The landlord must send the notice of termination to the RTB on the same day it is sent to you. If this is not done the notice of termination will be invalid.
This process for ending a tenancy because of rent arrears is set out in Section 12 of the Residential Tenancies and Valuation Act 2020.
Can a landlord and tenant agree a shorter notice period?
You and your landlord can agree a shorter notice period than the minimum periods set out above, but you can only do so when the landlord decides to terminate the tenancy. It is illegal to agree a shorter notice period at the start of the tenancy.
An illegal eviction (or unlawful termination) is when your landlord stops you accessing your rented property or removes your belongings whether or not a valid notice of termination has been served.
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.
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 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 look after you 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 Ireland. 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.