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Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Rates

Almost everyone who lives in a property in Northern Ireland has to pay rates.  Rates pay for services throughout Northern Ireland; like schools, hospitals and roads; and for services in your local area; like bin collection, parks and leisure centres.  The amount you pay depends on the value of your property and which council area it is in.

Make sure you know if it’s your responsibility or your landlord’s to pay rates if you rent from a private landlord or agency

Your rate bill is worked out by multiplying the capital value of your property by the total of the domestic regional rate and the domestic district rate. The regional rate is set by the NI Assembly each year. The district rates are set by each local council.

You can apply for housing benefit and rate relief to help with rates. Tenants who are applying for housing benefit should mark on the form that they have to pay rates. The Housing Executive will manage the claim for rates and rent together.

If you qualify for the Disabled Person's Allowance or the Lone Pensioner Allowance you will get a discount on your rates bill.

If you own a property you'll normally have to pay rates on it, even if the property is empty. You'll get a rates bill for the empty property automatically and you won't be entitled to an early payment discount. Some empty properties can be excluded from the rating system. It's worth checking to see if you can apply for an exclusion.

Get advice as soon as possible if you can't pay. The Land & Property Services have a strict procedure for recovering rates arrears. There are strict time limits. If you contact your local Land & Property Services office, you may be able to negotiate a payment plan.