Skip to main content

Search Housing Rights

Abandonment of a social tenancy

If your landlord thinks you are living somewhere else, they can end your tenancy. This is called abandonment.  

Abandonment of a social tenancy

The property you rent from your landlord must be your main or only home.  

If your landlord has reason to believe you are living somewhere else, they can end your tenancy. This is called ‘abandonment’.  

Your landlord can suspect you abandoned your property, if: 

  • the property appears empty 
  • they visit a few times and you’re not there 
  • someone tells them you’re living somewhere else 

How a social landlord deals with abandonment 

If your landlord thinks you abandoned the property, they’ll: 

  • put an abandonment notice on the property 
  • give you four weeks to respond 
  • give you notice to quit if they do not hear from you 

If you did not abandon the tenancy, contact your landlord as soon as possible and explain why the property looked abandoned. Bring proof, such as utility bills, to show you were living there. 

If your landlord still decides to end your tenancy, they do not need to get a court order. They can go into the property and remove your belongings. They can give your property to another tenant. 

Appealing an abandonment decision

You can go to court to appeal your landlord’s decision to end your tenancy. You must do this within six months of your tenancy ending.  

You’ll need to prove that you: 

  • were still living in your home, or 
  • had a genuine reason for being away and planned to return 

If the court believes you, it can order your landlord to: 

  • restart your tenancy, or 
  • give you a tenancy in a different property 

Speak to our advisers if you want to appeal an abandonment decision.  

Dealing with belongings in an abandoned tenancy

Your landlord must store any items you left in the property for six months. They must write to you to explain that: 

  • they are storing your belongings 
  • you must collect the items on a specific date 
  • you are responsible for the cost of storing the items 

Your landlord can sell any items you left behind if you do not claim them within six months. They can throw away anything in such poor condition that it would not sell. 

Finding another home after your tenancy was abandoned 

It can be hard to get help from the Housing Executive if you are homeless after abandoning a social tenancy. The Housing Executive may say that you are ‘intentionally’ homeless. This means they do not have to help you find a home. 

Speak to our advisers if you are in this situation. 

Was this page helpful?
We are so happy you found the information you need! Tell us why you found this page useful, so we can keep improving our service...

We're sorry you did not find this page useful. Please take a moment to tell us why so we can keep improving our service.

We cannot reply to questions on this page. If you need housing advice, speak to an adviser.


Report a problem with this page

Help us improve

Don’t include personal or financial information like your National Insurance number or credit card details.