You may not think of yourself as a landlord. But you are a landlord if
- you rent out a room or a property to someone
- you charge that person rent to live there.
You must follow certain laws if you are a landlord. The council can fine you or take you to court if you don't.
Tenants or licensees
You need to understand if the person renting from you is a licensee or a tenant. This can be hard to work out.
The person is probably a tenant if
- they have exclusive use of a property or part of a property and
- they are supposed to pay rent at regular intervals and
- there was an intention to enter into a rental agreement.
Exclusive use means the room or property is for the person's use only and you need permission to enter.
Licensees have fewer rights than tenants. Someone staying in a hotel is a licensee, not a tenant.
Lodgers are people who rent a room in a home they share with their landlord. A lodger can be a tenant, or they can be a licensee. It depends on the facts of the situation and not on what is in any contract.
Contact Landlord Advice NI if you need help working out if you're renting to tenants or licensees.
Basic legal responsibilities of landlords
- register as a landlord
- make sure any property you rent out is fit to live in
- give your tenants a rent book
- protect any deposits you take from tenants
- make sure the property is safe and in good repair
- let your tenants apply for benefits to help with rent
- follow the proper processes if you want to end a tenancy
- let your tenants live in their rented home without harassment or interference.
Contact Landlord Advice NI to find out more about your responsibilities.