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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Rates in private tenancies

Rates are a property tax. The money raised in rates helps to pay for all types of public services. Land & Property Services (LPS) is the agency responsible for collecting rates.

The amount that you pay for rates depends on the value of the property you live in.

Rates for private renters

Either you or your landlord will be responsible for paying rates. Who pays the rates depends on

  • what your tenancy agreement says, and
  • what the law says.

What does the law say about liability for rates?

The law says that the tenant is usually responsible for paying rates for a privately rented home. But, if the rates bill has not been paid, the landlord is the responsible person if

Finding the property's capital value

The capital value is not the same as the market value of the property.

You can find the capital value of the property by searching the LPS website.

What does your tenancy agreement say about rates?

  • Your tenancy agreement may have a term about rates. It could say that
  • rates are included in the rent that you pay to the landlord, or
  • rates are a separate charge you pay in addition to the rent, or
  • the landlord will pay the rates.

What happens if the rates bill has not been paid?

LPS will contact people who have not paid their rates. They can take a person to court over this debt, and can even make a person bankrupt if the debt is more than £5,000.

LPS will contact the person who is legally liable for rates. This means

  • you, the tenant, if the property's capital value if £150,001 or more
  • the landlord if the property's capital value is £150,000 or less.

What happens if LPS chase a tenant for money they have already paid?

LPS have to get the person who is legally liable to pay the debt.

A tenant can be held responsible for rates debt even if they've paid the rates to the landlord as part of their rent. If the landlord has not passed this money on, LPS has to chase the tenant if the property has a capital value of £150,001 or more.

We can help if this happens to you. LPS may pause legal action while you get the money back from the landlord.

Help to pay rates

You might be able to get help to pay your rates. You can get this help from

  • Housing Benefit if you are already claiming Housing Benefit or you are over pension age
  • Rates Rebate if you are claiming Universal Credit.

Our advisers can talk to you about these benefits if you want more information.