Rent arrears and Notices of Termination

A tenant is obliged to pay their rent in full and on time until the tenancy ends even where a dispute has arisen with the landlord.

It is important that at all times rent is paid and where it is not, it is a breach of the tenancy agreement.

Rent arrears within the first 6 months

If a tenant is in the dwelling for less than 6 months, a landlord can serve a 28 day Notice of Termination without giving any reason (if there is no lease agreement in place).  If a landlord decides to give a reason of rent arrears then the process set out below must be followed.

Rent arrears in a tenancy that has lasted longer than 6 months (or a Part 4 tenancy)

If a landlord wants to end a tenancy because of rent arrears and the tenant has been renting the property for more than 6 months then  a two step procedure must be followed:

  1. Serve a 14 Day Warning Notice for failure to pay rent: Where a tenant falls into rent arrears the landlord must write to the tenant serving a minimum of 14 days Warning Notice for failure to pay rent. This notice must state how much rent is due, give the tenant reasonable time to pay it, and outline what will happen if they don’t pay. Please note the law requires that a tenant is given a reasonable time to remedy a breach. This can be different from case to case, but should be at least of a minimum 14 days. 
  2. Serve a 28-day Notice of Termination of the tenancy. If the tenant fails to pay the rent due in the time period given in the warning notice, the landlord can end the tenancy by serving a 28 day a notice of termination.

Notice periods

It is important that correct notice periods are given. The first day of a notice period is the day after the notice is served.  Therefore if the notice is served on a Monday the period of notice commences from the Tuesday.  The notice periods required depend on the length of the tenancy and the reason for issuing the notice in some circumstance. Whilst not a specific requirement under the legislation, it may be prudent to give an additional couple of days notice to ensure that the tenant receives the required notice period. See our Sample Notices of Termination page.

Submitting a rent arrears case when the tenant has vacated

You can pursue a case against a tenant who has vacated by submitting a dispute resolution application. If you are not in possession of a current address for the tenant, please provide a PPS number for the tenant when submitting your application. The RTB will make every effort to source a current contact address for the tenant by searching our own registration database, and other government approved databases but please be aware that if a tenant has moved to a new location it may take a number of weeks before the new address is updated on the data base.

Dispute cases

The RTB prioritise cases where there are rent arrears. A landlord can submit a dispute application to the RTB for rent arrears. The landlord can also serve a notice of termination for breach of tenants responsibilities.

A tenant must continue to pay their rent in full until the tenancy ends and while any disputes are ongoing. Where a dispute has arisen between a tenant and landlord and it has failed to be resolved, a dispute can be referred to the RTB. If a tenant has withheld payment of rent in this instance, they should recommence paying rent and wait for the dispute to be heard. 

If the tenant is in receipt of Rent Supplement and is not paying rent then the Community Welfare Service for the area should be contacted to have the supplement suspended until the case is heard.