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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

The Fit and Proper Person Test

Advice for landlords in Northern Ireland

This page is for landlords operating in Northern Ireland.  You can find advice for tenants elsewhere on our website. Private landlords in Northern Ireland can call Landlord Advice on 028 9024 5640 and choose option 5. 

You must pass a "fit and proper person" test to manage a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO).

Who has to pass the fit and proper person test?

You have to show that you are a fit and proper person if

  • you own a HMO, or
  • you manage a HMO.

If a company or organisation owns the HMO, the following people must pass the test

  • directors
  • partners
  • any other person involved with the management of that company.

What does the fit and proper test look at?

The council may decide you are not fit to manage a HMO if you have

  • committed any offences relating to fraud, dishonesty, violence, drugs, human trafficking or firearms
  • committed offences listed in Schedule 3 to the Sexual Offences Act 2003
  • practiced unlawful discrimination in carrying out business
  • contravened any provisions in housing or tenancy law
  • been involved in anti-social behaviour
  • behaved in a way not in keeping with the HMO code of practice.

The council will look at how you've dealt with complaints about antisocial behaviour in your properties in the past.

You must sign a declaration stating that you believe yourself to be a fit and proper person.

Other people can object to your application by saying that you are not a fit and proper person. The council must consider these objections.

What happens if you fail the fit and proper person test?

The council will refuse your application for a HMO license if

  • you are not a fit and proper person, or
  • your property manager is not a fit and proper person.

You cannot be a fit and proper person for at least one year after you fail the test.

You can appeal a decision that you are not a fit and proper person.