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028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

12 week notice period extended to end September 2021

Regulations have been laid which extend emergency measures to increase the amount of notice which must be given to private tenants during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Private Tenancies (Coronavirus Modifications) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2021 come into operation on 30 March 2021. They extend the emergency period during which extended notice is required to 30 September 2021. 

Requirements to end a tenancy in Northern Ireland

Generally, landlords and tenants must serve a notice to quit if they wish to end a private tenancy. Article 14 of The Private Tenancies (NI) Order sets out the requirements that such a notice must satisfy. These are that the notice must be in writing and that it must be given to the other party a fixed amount of time before it takes effect. The emergency measures apply only to notices served by landlords on tenants. The amount of notice a tenant must give to the landlord depends on

  • what is set out in the contract and
  • the length of the tenancy, (notice periods range from 4 to 12 weeks depending on the length of the tenancy).

Unlike other jurisdictions, notice in Northern Ireland is not required to have any set form of words or to be completed on a specific form.  

The notice generally ends the tenancy, but the landlord must apply for a court order if the tenant does not leave, and then apply to have this order enforced if the tenant continues to remain in occupation. It is unlawful for a landlord, or anyone operating on the landlord's behalf, to force a tenant to leave the property other than by following this legal process. It is also unlawful for a landlord, or anyone operating on the landlord's behalf, to carry out actions designed to force the tenant to leave the property or give up other lawful rights. 

Tenants who have received a notice to quit should contact our helpline for advice.

Landlords who need information on correctly ending a tenancy can contact Landlord Advice. 

Tagged In

Coronavirus, Private Tenancies

This article was written on 25 February 2021. It should not be relied on as a statement of the current law or policy position. For help with housing issues please contact our helpline on 028 9024 5640 or use our online chat service at www.housingadviceNI.org.