Fixed-term tenancies will be brought in for people who live in council or commissioners’ houses from Tuesday.
All new tenancies will be awarded for a fixed period of five years in the Department of Social Care move.
It is a first step towards mean testing.
Social Care Minister Howard Quayle MHK said: ‘A fixed term tenancy will provide a natural contract break where the terms of the tenancy can be re-evaluated according to the tenant’s housing need and eligibility at that time.
‘It gives all public sector housing providers the opportunity to update the details of the households and check on the continued eligibility of those tenants for public sector housing.
‘All tenancy reviews will be carried out with sensitivity by the public sector landlords.’
He added: ‘Tenancies will be renewed wherever there is an ongoing housing need.’
‘Where there has been a change in circumstances for example and increase or decrease in household then the terms of the renewed tenancy will be adjusted to reflect this.
‘Introducing a fixed term to new tenancies from April this year means all new tenants coming in to the sector will be aware their tenancy is not for life, and continued occupancy will depend on their individual needs and circumstances when reviewed.’
The department initially planned to introduce fixed-term tenancies of two years.
Following consultation with tenants and local authorities, the decision was taken to increase the term to five years.