There are different reasons why a landlord may decide to serve an eviction notice. However, regardless of the circumstances, facing eviction is a very stressful situation to be in. If your landlord wants you to move out of your rental home, it is important to know about your rights as a tenant and the services that can help you.
Your rights when facing eviction
There are several pieces of legislation that protect your rights as a tenant in Ireland, including the Residential Tenancies Act 2004, the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015 and 2019 and the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016.
How easily your landlord can evict you depends on the type of rental agreement that you have and how long you have been in the accommodation.
When can my landlord end my tenancy?
If you don’t have a fixed-term rental agreement, your landlord can ask you to leave during the first six months without giving a reason. However, they must give you a valid written notice to inform you that they are ending your rental agreement (known as a notice of termination) and a minimum of 28 days notice.
If you have been renting the property for over six months, your landlord has to provide a reason for ending your tenancy. By law, grounds to end a tenancy must be one of the following:
- The tenant breaks their obligations e.g. by not paying rent on time
- The tenant is severely neglecting the property
- The property is not suitable for the tenant’s needs e.g. there are too many occupants in the house
- The landlord wants to make significant changes to the property
- The landlord wants to sell it
- The landlord wants to use it for business purposes
- The landlord requires the property for personal or family use
How much notice must my landlord give before evicting me?
The landlord must give you written notice of termination. This must be in writing, be signed by the landlord, state the date of termination and the reason for termination (if tenancy has lasted more than six months). Emails and text messages do not qualify as valid notices of termination. The notice period depends on the length of the tenancy:
- Less than six months: 28 days
- Six months or more, but less than one year: 90 days
- One year or more, but less than three years: 120 days
- Three years or more, but less than seven years: 180 days
- Seven years or more, but less than eight years: 196 days
- More than eight years: 224 days
Are there any exceptions to these notice periods?
Some exceptions to these notice periods exist.
Rent not paid on time: If you have not been paying your rent, your landlord must first give you written notification stating the amount you owe and give you 28 days to pay the arrears. By law, you should receive any such notice in writing for it to be legally valid. A copy of the initial warning notice must also be sent by the landlord to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) at the time of issue.
You are then entitled to be given the chance to resolve the situation. If you still have not paid 28 days after you receive this, your landlord can then give you 28 days’ notice of termination.
There are also specific regulations in place that deal with rent arrears for those on a COVID-19 social welfare payment, such as the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP). These regulations are complex, so it is advised to call Threshold if you fall into this category. You will find their details below.
Read more about what to do if you can’t pay your rent.
Persistent breach of tenant’s obligations: If you break any of your obligations, your landlord must first serve you a warning letter outlining what the issues are and giving you 28 days to resolve the matter. For example, if someone is keeping pets in breach of their lease agreement, then a warning letter should be issued first. A copy of the initial warning notice must also be sent by the landlord to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) at the time of issue.
If the matter is not dealt with sufficiently, then a 28-day notice can be served. This process should be followed for all matters that are of a minor nature.
Serious anti-social behaviour: If there is serious anti-social behaviour, such as violence or threats, the landlord only has to give you seven days’ notice without warning.
What is illegal eviction?
If your landlord has served a valid written notice of termination, you still have rights as a tenant. Your landlord cannot cut off water, gas or electricity, physically evict you or remove your property from the flat.
If your landlord kicks you out for a specific reason (i.e. they say their family wants to move into the property), but then doesn’t follow through with that reason, you can report them to the Residential Tenancies Board.
Read more about your rights when facing problems during your tenancy.
Supports for people facing eviction
If your landlord wants to evict you and you don’t know what to do, know that you are not alone. There are several support services that can help you.
Community and Tenants Union (CATU) Ireland is a union for renters, council tenants, mortgage holders and people in emergency and uncertain living situations. If you become a member of CATU, they will be able to support you with any community or tenancy issues that you are facing. Find out more about joining CATU.
Threshold is a national housing charity that campaigns for the rights of tenants, works to end homelessness, provides free and confidential advice and tenancy protection services to people with housing problems. If you have received a written notice of termination of tenancy and are unsure if it is valid, contact your local Threshold office immediately.
Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC) can offer you free legal advice if you are unsure about your rights when faced with eviction. You can contact their Information & Referral Line at 1890 350 250 or email [email protected]