When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Rights and repairs in protected tenancies

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. 

Protected tenants have most of the rights that other private tenants have, including

  • freedom from harassment and unlawful eviction
  • a right to peaceful enjoyment of their property
  • the right to a rent book. 

They also have some extra rights. These mean

  • a protected tenant may be able to pass their tenancy on after they die
  • you can only evict a protected tenant if you have "grounds" to do so.

Can your protected tenant pass their tenancy on?

A protected tenant living in a home you own may be able to pass their tenancy on when they die. 

They can only pass the tenancy on to a family member who was living with them at the property when they died. 

This area of law is quite tricky. You'll need to get specialist advice from Landlord Advice NI or a solicitor. Before getting advice, you need to find out

  • if the current tenant is the original tenant of the property,
  • when they became the tenant if they are not the original tenant.

Can you evict a protected tenant?

To evict a protected tenant you must prove to a court that

  • the mandatory grounds for possession apply, or
  • the discretionary grounds apply, and the tenant has suitable alternative housing to live in.

Repairs in protected tenancies

Any tenancy agreement for the tenancy should explain who does which repairs.

The default repair obligations in The Private Tenancies (NI) Order 2006 will apply in most cases, if there is no tenancy agreement. 

This means you, the landlord, are responsible for

  • the exterior, structure, pipework and guttering and external paintwork of the building
  • installations for the supply and use of gas, water, electricity, sanitation, including sinks, baths and toilets
  • installations for heating and hot water
  • any appliances, fixtures or fittings you provided as part of the tenancy.

The tenant must

  • look after the property and keep the interior in reasonable order
  • fix any damage they cause to the property
  • get permission before making any changes to the property.

The default obligations do not apply if the property has never had a regulated rent certificate. Get advice if don't know how to find out if your property had this certificate.