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028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

Consultation on notice to quit periods

Drawing of stick figure at an exterior door. There is a sign on the door that reads "notice to quit". The figure looks surprised.

The Department for Communities has opened a consultation into notice to quit periods. A notice to quit is a type of eviction letter which must typically be given to a private tenant before the landlord can take the tenant to court for an eviction hearing. 

Emergency legislation passed in 2020 increased minimum notice to quit periods from 28 days to 12 weeks. This legislation is currently in effect until March 2022. Until this legislation was passed tenants in Northern Ireland could be evicted with as little as 28 days' notice from their landlord. 

Considering sufficiency of notice periods

A bill is currently making its way through the NI Assembly which would extend the minimum notice to quit period to 8 weeks for tenancies lasting longer than 12 months. It will retain the 12-week notice period for tenancies of more than 10 years.

The department consulted on an 8-week notice period in 2017. The new consultation exercise wants to investigate whether 8 weeks is sufficient time for a tenant to find another home, particularly now that tenants and landlords have experience of a 12-week notice period. 

The consultation asks for views on whether

  • landlords should be subject to longer notice periods than tenants
  • notice periods should differ for longer tenancies
  • tenancies lasting less than a year should be terminated with just 28 days' notice
  • there should be any exemptions from longer notice periods and what these should be
  • tenants in HMO properties should be subject to different notice requirements 

Responding to notice to quit consultation

You can respond to the consultation

  • online
  • by email or 
  • by writing to Notice to Quit Consultation, Department for Communities, Private Rented Branch,, Housing Division, Level 3 Causeway Exchange, 1-7 Bedford Street, Belfast, BT2 7EG

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Private Tenancies

This article was written on 9 December 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.