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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Renting problems video tip: Can you break your contract?

A tenancy agreement is a legal contract, so you can't just leave if you no longer want to live in the property.  If you believe that the landlord has broken the contract by failing to carry out repairs, you need to have a strong body of evidence to prove this.  If you don't, a court could order you to pay the landlord the rent that you owe up to the end of the contract. 

There are many reasons why you may want to leave a tenancy early. However, unless there is a clause allowing you to do so in your tenancy agreement, it can be difficult to leave once you’ve signed a rental contract.

Most tenants pay a security deposit when they move into a property. This is the tenant's money and should be returned at the end of the tenancy unless the tenant owes the landlord money. The deposit should be returned in full unless the landlord has suffered a genuine financial loss as a result of your actions. If your landlord has unfairly kept some of your deposit you should try to get this money back.

You can use the Small Claims Court to take legal action against someone if you are claiming less than £3000. You don't need a solicitor to go to Small Claims Court so the costs are much lower than the costs for other types of legal action.

You should give your landlord a reasonable amount of time to carry out repairs. If you are having difficulty contacting your landlord or your landlord has refused to carry out essential repairs you may be able to get help from your local council.