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Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Advice for private tenants

Advice for private tenants
Advice for private tenants

Whether you've lived in the private rented sector for a long time or are considering moving into a rented home, you have certain rights which are protected by law.

It's important to know, not just your rights as a tenant, but also your responsibilities. If you're a landlord, renting out your property to tenants, make sure you know your rights and responsibilities too. 

Renting privately can be a great option for many people. There is a wide range of rented property available. Make sure you know what type of property you need and what area you would like to live in.

Once you've found somewhere you'd like to live and have agreed the terms with your landlord or agent you can start making plans to move in.

Most landlords will ask for a security deposit from each tenant in a property. This money is used as insurance against any damage you may cause or rent you may owe at the end of the tenancy. Any deposit paid on or after 1 April 2013 has to be placed in a tenancy deposit protection scheme.

All private tenants have some basic legal rights. Your other rights can depend on when your tenancy started and what your tenancy agreement says.

It's important to be aware of your responsibilities to your landlord. While many of these responsibilities will be explained in your tenancy agreement, there are also certain responsibilities which are outlined in law.

You must pay rent to your landlord in return for living in the property. If you stop paying your rent, are late with a payment or do not pay in full, your landlord may begin eviction proceedings against you.

You should report any damage or disrepair to your landlord immediately. It's always a good idea to follow up any reports you make over the phone or in person with a letter so both you and your landlord have a record of any work that needs to be done.

Sharing a rented home can work out really well. It makes things a lot cheaper, but can also bring its own problems.

Your landlord may try to force you to move out by harassing you. Your landlord may be doing this so he or she won't have to follow the proper procedure for evicting you. Harassing a tenant is a criminal offence and your landlord could be prosecuted by the local council for trying to force you to leave the property.

Once you sign a tenancy agreement, you will usually be expected to keep to the conditions of the agreement until it ends. It's important that you check a few things out before you sign and don't let yourself be rushed into anything.

Some people enjoy getting involved in their neighbourhood. You might want to join a residents association or community group or even set one up if you think it would improve the area.

Watch this short video to work out what you need to know if you're thinking about renting privately in Northern Ireland.

Renting privately can be a great option. You have much more choice about the type and location of property you end up living in. However, we get a lot of calls from people who have had problems in their privately rented home. Whether you've rented before or you're a private renting novice, check out our top tips to make sure your experience is a positive one.

Protected tenancies are a type of rent-controlled tenancy. You could be a protected tenant and not be aware of this fact. If you are a protected tenant, the amount of rent that your landlord can legally charge you is restricted.

You may encounter an unexpected problem when you're renting property. Housing Rights Service can provide you with information and advice on most housing problems.

There are certain steps you need to take to end your tenancy. It can be difficult to get out of a tenancy before the expiry date, even if you have a valid reason for wanting out.

There are a range of organisations which provide advice, guidance and assistance on matters which affect private tenants. If you're experiencing a problem in your rented accommodation, it's essential that you get advice.

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