Law guide: Landlords

See how we helped Liz

"It's not just a website... there are people there on call who can help answer your queries."

Liz W, London

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland

Contents

This guidance applies to all residential tenancies created since 1 April 2007. There's only one type of tenancy you can set up, and it covers furnished and unfurnished lettings.

You can charge a market-based rent. But in certain circumstances, the tenancy can become a rent-controlled tenancy.

Fixed term and periodic tenancies

You and the tenant agree how long the tenancy will run for before the tenancy agreement is signed. You can set up the tenancy as:

  • Fixed term, meaning that it runs for a specified period that is defined at the start of the tenancy (for example, 12 months)
  • Periodic, meaning that it runs from one rental period to the next (such as month to month or quarter to quarter)

A tenancy that's a periodic tenancy by agreement with the tenant is called a contractual periodic tenancy.

If you start with a fixed-term tenancy and allow the tenant to stay in the property without a new agreement at the end of the fixed term, the tenancy will automatically become what's called a statutory periodic tenancy.

Right to possession

Fixed-term tenancies

You can't seek possession during the fixed term of a fixed-term tenancy, unless a clause in the tenancy agreement allows it to end earlier (e.g. it contains a 'break clause'). If the tenant refuses to leave when the fixed term ends, you'll have to follow a specified procedure to regain possession – see Overview – Recovering possession in NI.

The tenant can serve you with a notice to quit at any point during the fixed term, giving at least 28 days' notice. Usually, the tenant will still have to pay the rent until the end of the fixed term unless the tenancy agreement contains a break clause allowing it to be ended early.

Periodic tenancies

A periodic tenancy must run for a minimum period of 6 months. If you want to regain possession of the property, you can serve a notice on the tenant to quit the property giving at least 28 days' notice before you wish to gain possession, subject to the minimum 6-month period.

If the tenant doesn't leave by the date specified in the notice to quit, you'll have to follow a specified procedure to regain possession of the property – see Overview – Recovering possession in NI.

So long as the tenancy hasn't been running for over 5 years, the tenant can serve you with a notice to quit the property at any point during the tenancy, giving at least 28 days' notice.

Copyright © 2018 Epoq Group Ltd. All trademarks acknowledged, all rights reserved

This website is operated by Epoq Legal Ltd, company number 3707955, whose registered office is at 2 Imperial Place, Maxwell Road, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, WD6 1JN. Epoq Legal Ltd will be authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority from 15 January 2019 (SRA number 645296).