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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

About protected tenancies

This page is for landlords operating in Northern Ireland.  You can find advice for tenants elsewhere on our website. Private landlords in Northern Ireland can get advice by calling 028 9024 5640 and choosing option 5. 

Protected tenancies are a type of rent-controlled tenancy. Landlords of protected tenancies do not always understand the complexities of this type of tenancy. If you are the landlord of a protected tenancy you need to understand the increased rights which your tenants enjoy.

The rights of protected tenants are guaranteed by law and cannot be overridden by the terms of a tenancy agreement.

There are a list of criteria that a tenancy must satisfy in order to be protected. The first of these is that the tenancy must have existed before 1 April 2007. No new protected tenancies can be created after this date, but the Rent Officer may still declare that tenancies which were in place before April 2007 are protected by law.

The Rent Officer, rather than individual landlords, sets all rents for protected tenancies. If a landlord wishes to increase the amount of rent which can be legally charged on this type of tenancy, s/he must request a Rent Determination from the Rent Officer.

While protected tenants have many of the same rights as other private tenants, they also have a number of additional rights. These are a right to succession and greater protection from possession action.

It is much more difficult to gain vacant possession of a protected tenancy than it is an uncontrolled tenancy. This is because the tenant has greater rights to stay in the property and can only be evicted on certain grounds.