When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Required property standards

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 1. 

Before you put a property on the rental market, you should make sure that it meets all the relevant fitness and safety standards. There are additional standards if the property will be a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO). This is usually the case if you are intending to let to groups of students or people who are not all family members. A HMO is classified as a property where more than 2 people from different families live. Buildings which have been converted from single homes into flats are also regarded as HMOs.

You may need to get a certificate to show that your property is fit for habitation. Certain properties don't need to get the certificate, but it is an offence to fail to apply for one if your property isn't exempt. 

All rented properties must, at the very least, meet the basic fitness standard. However, even if your home meets the fitness standard it could still be regarded as unfit by inspectors from your local council. You should try to maintain the property to a standard that you would be happy to live in.

If your property has a gas heating system or any gas appliances you must ensure that these are checked annually by an engineer who is listed on the Gas Safe Register. Annual checks are recorded on a log called a Gas Safety Record. You must keep these records up to date and keep them for at least 2 years.

You need to make sure the wiring and electrics in your home are safe. It's best to have a qualified electrician check the property before you rent it out. 

You must make sure any furniture in the property meets fire safety standards.

A shared property that is a HMO has to meet certain standards in order to get its HMO licence. A set of regulations explains the standards in detail. The standards are broken down into different areas.

The council will only grant a HMO licence if it is satisfied that the management arrangements for the property are satisfactory. As well as meeting the fit and proper person test, owners and managing agents are subject to a Code of Practice. Breaching this code could lead to losing your licence.