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Ending your tenancy

This advice applies to Northern Ireland

You’II need to let your landlord know in advance if you want to end your tenancy - this is called giving notice.

You have to give notice in the correct way - if you don’t, you might have to pay rent even after you’ve moved out.

When and how much notice you give will depend on the type of tenancy you have.

If you can't give the right amount of notice you might be able to agree with your landlord to end your tenancy early. This is called 'surrendering your tenancy'.

Don’t end your tenancy because your landlord isn’t doing what they should, for example if they’re not doing repairs.

You have the right to rent a safe home and to be treated fairly. The law is there to protect your rights - you can take action to get your landlord to do what they should.  

Get help from your nearest Citizens Advice - they can check your rights and talk you through your options.

Check what type of tenancy you have

You’II either have a 'fixed term tenancy' which ends on a certain date or a ‘periodic tenancy’, which just continues on a monthly or weekly basis for example.  A periodic tenancy is also known as a ‘rolling tenancy’.

Fixed term tenancy

You have to pay your rent until the end of your fixed term. You can only end your tenancy if your agreement says you can or by getting your landlord to agree to end your tenancy.

If your agreement says you can end your tenancy this means you have a ‘break clause’.

Your tenancy agreement will tell you when the break clause can apply. For example your break clause might say you can end your tenancy 6 months after it starts if you give 1 month's notice.

Some break clauses might have other conditions that you have to meet. For example your break clause might say you can’t have rent arrears.

It’s important to read your break clause carefully so you understand how and when you can end your tenancy. You have to follow its conditions - if you don’t you might not be able to end your tenancy.

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you don’t understand your break clause.

Periodic tenancy

You can end your tenancy at any time by giving your landlord notice if you have a periodic tenancy. You'll have to pay your rent to the end of your notice period.

You'll have a periodic tenancy if:

  • you've never had a fixed term tenancy and you pay your rent either on a monthly or weekly basis
  • your fixed term tenancy has ended and your tenancy has continued to roll on

Notice you’II need to give

The amount of notice you have to give to end your tenancy will depend on the type of tenancy you have.

Check your tenancy agreement to find out how much notice you have to give - you might have to give more than the minimum notice.

When to give notice

You can usually give notice at any time, unless you have a break clause or a tenancy agreement that says otherwise.

The notice you give has to end on the first or last day of your tenancy period.


If your tenancy period runs from the 4th of each month to the 3rd of the next month this would mean:

  • the first day of your tenancy period would be the 4th of the month
  • the last day of your tenancy period would be the 3rd of the next month

So your notice would have to end on either the 3rd or 4th of the month.

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you have a weekly tenancy -  the rules for the day your notice has to end are different.

If you have a joint tenancy

You must normally get the agreement of your landlord and the other tenants to give notice to end your fixed term joint tenancy. If you end your tenancy it ends for everyone.

If your fixed term joint tenancy has a break clause you have to get all the tenants to agree to end the tenancy, unless your agreement says otherwise.

If you have a periodic joint tenancy you can give notice to end your tenancy without the agreement of the other tenants - unless your tenancy agreement says otherwise. It's important to be aware that if you end your tenancy it ends for everyone.

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice for help if you want to end a joint tenancy.

Giving notice

You should give notice by writing a letter to your landlord.

You can find your landlord's address on your tenancy agreement or your rent book. Ask your landlord for their details if you can’t find them - they have to give you the information.

If you rent from a letting agent ask them to give you your landlord details if you can't find them.

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you can't get your landlord's address details. 

What to write

Make sure your letter clearly states the date you'll be moving out. 

Keep a copy of your letter and get a proof of posting certificate from the post office, in case you need to prove when you posted it.

You can send your letter by email if your tenancy agreement says you can.

You should say something like:

“I am giving 1 month's notice to end my tenancy, as required by law. I will be leaving the property on (date xxxxx).

I would like you to be at the property on the day I move out to check the premises and for me to return the keys.

I also need you to return my tenancy deposit of (state amount)”.

If you can’t give notice - getting your landlord's agreement to leave

You can try to reach an agreement with your landlord to end your tenancy, for example if:

  • you want to leave during your fixed term

  • you have a periodic tenancy and you can’t give the right amount of notice to end your tenancy  

Explain why you want to end your tenancy early, for example your work location might have changed or you might need to move to look after a relative.

Your landlord doesn't have to agree to end your tenancy early. If they don't you’ll either have to stay or pay rent after you leave until the end of your notice period.

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you’re worried about speaking to your landlord.

If you have a fixed term tenancy

You can try to reach an agreement with your landlord to end your tenancy if:

  • you have a break clause but want to leave before it says you can or you’ve missed the deadline to use the break clause

  • you don’t have a break clause and you want to leave before the end of your fixed term

You could ask your landlord if you can get another tenant to move in, for example a friend - this would mean your landlord wouldn't be losing any rent.

If your landlord agrees to let you get a new tenant make sure you get your landlord’s agreement in writing. The agreement must clearly say that your tenancy has ended and a new tenancy has been created for the new tenant.

If your landlord won’t let you get a new tenant you might still be able to end your tenancy early. You might be able to agree to pay part of the rent for what is left of your fixed term. For example if you have 3 months left on your fixed term agreement, your landlord might agree to let you pay just 2 months' rent instead.

Make sure you get what you agree in writing - in case you need evidence later.

If you have a periodic tenancy

If your landlord won’t let you leave without giving the right amount of notice they might agree to let you give just part of your notice. For example if you have to give 1 month’s notice, they might agree to let you just give 2 weeks’ notice instead.

If you reach an agreement to leave your tenancy early

Don’t just leave the property or put the keys through your landlord’s letterbox after reaching an agreement.

Get what you agree in writing - you might need to refer back to what was said if there are problems.

Leaving without giving notice

It's best not to leave your home without giving notice or getting your landlord’s agreement to leave. Your tenancy won't have ended and you'll still have to pay your rent until you end your tenancy in the right way.

Your landlord can get a court order to make you pay the rent you owe. You’ll usually have to pay the court costs as well as the rent you owe.

Other problems if you just leave 

Leaving without giving the correct notice could also make it harder for you to find a new home because:

  • you may not be able to get a reference from your landlord
  • you won’t usually get your tenancy deposit back
  • you could build up rent arrears if your landlord continues to charge you rent

You should make sure you’ve found a new place to live before you leave your home. You might not be able to get any help from your Housing Executive if you leave a home you could've stayed in. Find out more about getting housing help.

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice before deciding to leave your tenancy early. They can talk you through your options for giving notice in the right way, so you can avoid facing problems when you’re looking for a new home.

Leaving when your fixed term tenancy ends

You don’t need to give notice to say you’II be leaving on the last day of your fixed term, unless your tenancy agreement says you have to.

It’s best to give your landlord some notice to avoid problems.

Giving notice might help you get a reference or your deposit back quicker.

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice if your tenancy agreement says you need to give notice and you don’t want to.

Moving out of the property

You should make sure you clean the property and leave it in the same condition as when you moved in. You need to do this so you get your deposit back at the end of your tenancy. Find out more about getting your deposit back.  

Check your tenancy agreement to see if you have to get the property professionally cleaned.

It’s also worth taking photos of the condition of the property when you leave.

Pay your bills

Make sure you pay all your household bills before moving out  - for example gas, electricity, broadband and your council tax.

It’s also worth taking photos of your electric and gas meters so you have a record in case there are problems later.

Contact all the companies you pay before you move out and tell them the date you’II be leaving. It’s important to do this so you’re not charged for services after you’ve left.

Read more on dealing with your energy bills when you move home.

Redirect your post sent to your new address

Make sure your post goes to your new address by using Royal Mail's postal redirection service.

You can apply for the service by filling in an online form or visiting your local post office. You'll need to pay a fee.

If you can't pay for your post to be redirected you might want to think about giving your new address to your landlord or neighbours, so they can forward any post to you.

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