As the Private Tenancies Bill 2021 makes its way through the NI Assembly, the Department for Communities is consulting on the notice to quit period contained in the draft legislation.
As currently drafted, notice periods under the new Bill would be:
- Four weeks for tenancies of a term up to twelve months (rather than the current five-year term to which this notice period applies);
- Eight weeks for tenancies of a term between twelve months and ten years (replacing the five-year to ten-year provision currently in place); and
- Twelve weeks for tenancies over ten years (which is the current position under the Private Tenancies (NI) Order as amended by the Housing (Amendment) Act (NI) 2011).
However, the consultation proposes three new options for tenancies over the twelve month term – eight weeks as currently drafted in the Bill twelve weeks in line with the current Covid-19 emergency legislation, and a much longer notice period of twenty-six weeks.
The Communities Minister has indicated that the current eight-week period is a short timeline for renting families to find a new, suitable home (which may include finding a new school and/or new childcare provision) and relocate, and is seeking to provide further protection to private tenants in respect of the notice period that they receive to have to undergo this process.
The consultation document can be found at the below website and closes at midnight on 25 January 2022.