All private tenants should receive a rent book and information relating to their tenancy deposit within 28 days of their tenancy beginning and free of charge. There is specific information that must be included in these documents, including the name, address and telephone number of your landlord. Your landlord must also register with the NI Landlord Registrar.
Either your landlord or the agent who is managing the property must provide you with a rent book within 28 days of your tenancy starting. You must be provided with this free of charge.
A rent book must contain the following:
- your name and the address of the rented property
- the name, address and telephone number of the landlord
- the name, address and telephone number for the estate agent if one is managing the property
- the amount of rent and rates you must pay
- the period covered by each rent payment
- capital value of the property (after 1 April 2007)
- the amount and purpose of any other payment (for example, heating)
- when your tenancy starts.
Check your rent book carefully when you receive it. Letting agents sometimes leave the landlord's details off the rent book because they are managing the property. However, unless the information listed above is provided on the rent book, it does not confirm to the legal requirements and you can report your agent to the local council for failing to comply with legislation.
You can download a sample rent book . It's a good idea to keep print outs or receipts showing payments with your rent book and getting your agent or landlord to initial the rent book to show receipt of rent on a regular basis.
Tenancy deposit information
Your landlord must give you information about your deposit within 28 days of you paying the money over. The information which your landlord provides must include
- the amount of the deposit and the full address of the property in question
- your landlord’s full name and date of birth
- your landlord’s contact details, including your address, telephone number, mobile number and a valid contact email address
- a correspondence address for the landlord, which must be in Northern Ireland, if this differs from the address above
- the name, address and contact details of any agent operating on your landlord’s behalf
- confirmation of your contact details including contact details of any relevant person who is acting on your behalf
- details of the scheme in which the landlord has placed the deposit including information about how to resolve a dispute
- details of how the deposit will be refunded and the circumstances under which the landlord can retain some or all of the deposit
- what will happen if you cannot be contacted at the end of the tenancy and
- a copy of an information leaflet produced by the tenancy deposit scheme administrator.
Your landlord has to certify that the information he has given you is correct and give you an opportunity to sign the document to show that you are happy with the information provided. If the landlord hasn't given you this information by the end of your first month in the property, he or she may not have protected your money.
I haven't got a rent book or the deposit information
Ask your landlord or estate agent for a rent book if they have failed to provide it within 28 days of the tenancy starting. If the landlord or agent refuses to supply you with this information, you should contact the of your local council. Environmental Health Officers are responsible for enforcing the laws that govern the private rented sector in Northern Ireland.
The Environmental Health Officer will contact your landlord and request that they supply the necessary legal paperwork by a certain date. If the landlord fails to do so, he or she may be prosecuted in court and face a hefty fine. The council can issue the landlord with a fixed penalty equal to three times the value of your deposit for failing to give you the required information about your deposit within the legal timeframe.