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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Safety and living conditions

This page only contains basic information and is the English version of our translated content.  For more detailed advice and information on housing in Northern Ireland in the English language, use the menu options on the homepage. 

Your landlord must ensure that your accommodation is suitable when you move in. Landlords must have a valid gas safety record from a registered gas engineer for each gas appliance in your accommodation. Furniture provided by your landlord should be fire resistant.

If you share your accommodation with people who aren't family members, you probably live in a house in multiple occupation (HMO). Family members are immediate relations including mother, father or sibling and extended relations including a grandparent, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew.

In a HMO, your landlord has obligations to provide an adequate means of escape from fire, fire extinguishers and fire blankets.

    Gas Safety inspections

    Gas Safe Register replaced the CORGI gas register in Northern Ireland on 1 April 2010.

    Gas Safe Register oversees the register of gas engineers who are qualified to work with gas in Northern Ireland. Only gas engineers on the Gas Safe register can service or work safely and legally on gas installations and appliances.

    Every house, bedsit or flat that has gas must have a valid gas safety record. A gas safety record is valid for 12 months and issued by an engineer on the Gas Safe Register who has inspected and checked gas safety compliance. Before issuing a gas safety record, the engineer checks:

    • the gas supply,
    • gas appliances,
    • gas flues,
    • ventilation.

    The gas safety record must show a gas safety check for each gas appliance in your accommodation. For each safety check, the gas engineer records if a gas appliance is safe or defective.

    If the gas engineer notices any problems, the landlord must fix these by employing a gas engineer on the Gas Safe Register. Landlords must keep a gas safety record for two years and keep proof of all gas-related works carried out. Ask for a copy of the gas safety record when you move in. Make sure that the gas safety record is valid, with a gas safety check for each gas appliance in your accommodation.

    It is a criminal offence if your landlord does not give you a copy of a valid gas safety record. The Health and Safety Executive can prosecute your landlord. Your landlord could be fined or even imprisoned.

    Energy Performance Certificate

    An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) provides information to a tenant about energy efficiency in a property.

    If your tenancy in a private rented house or flat began after 30 December 2008, your landlord must show you an Energy Performance Certificate for your accommodation.

    This certificate demonstrates energy efficiency in your accommodation and gives A-G rates. An A rating shows high energy efficiency and a G rating shows poor energy efficiency. You can expect high fuel costs in a property with a G rating for energy efficiency.

    The landlord needs to appoint an accredited energy assessor who assesses energy efficiency and issues the certificate. The energy assessor will also give a report on how to improve energy efficiency and how a higher energy efficiency rating might be achieved.

    If your landlord does not supply an EPC, contact Building Control in Belfast City Council. A central team in Belfast City Council is responsible for investigating an initial complaint about an Energy Performance Certificate. An Energy Performance Certificate is valid for ten years. 

    Right to peaceful occupation of the property

    Tenants have the right to live peacefully in their accommodation and stop other people from entering without permission. This means that:

    • landlords are not entitled to enter your home without giving you notice,
    • they are entitled to have access to the property if they have good reason for this (i.e. if they need to carry out repairs or show new tenants around).

    Your landlord must give you reasonable notice before entering your accommodation. Your tenancy agreement might state the amount of notice your landlord has to give - usually it's at least 24 hours. If your landlord doesn't give you reasonable notice, he/she may be harassing you.