When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Rent control in private tenancies

The Rent Office determines the rent for rent controlled tenancies.  The registered rent for all known protected and rent-controlled tenancies is entered on to the Rent Register, which is managed by the Rent Officer. 

The rent could be controlled because it's a protected tenancy or because the property is unfit. If the property you are living in requires a Certificate of Fitness but does not have one, the rent payable on this property can be restricted.  If this is the case, the landlord must bring the property up to standard and get a valid Certificate of Fitness before a market rent can be charged for the property. If you live in a rent controlled tenancy, your landlord can't make you pay a higher rent than the amount set by the Rent Officer.

Rent determinations

Unless the Rent Officer has determined a new rent for the property since 1 April 2007, the maximum rent that can be charged for a protected tenancy is either:

  • the amount of rent that was registered with the Housing Executive before 1 April 2007 or
  • £1 per week, if the tenancy was not registered prior to 1 April 2007.

Your landlord can ask the Rent Officer to carry out a rent determination if he or she feels that the rent you are currently paying is too low.  The rent determination is based on

  • the general condition of the property, including its compliance with the fitness standard
  • the rent which the Housing Executive would charge for a similar type of property
  • the Local Reference Rent which the Housing Executive uses for setting rents in the locality
  • the terms of the tenancy agreement and what repairs you are required to carry out.

When making a rent determination the Rent Officer will ignore any improvements to the property you have carried out or paid for.

Rent Assessment Committee

The Rent Officer will notify you and your landlord once a decision is made on how much rent can be charged.  At this stage, both you and the landlord have the right to request a review of this decision if you disagree with it.  You must write to the Rent Officer to request an appeal within 14 days of being notified of the decision.

The Rent Assessment Committee is a statutory body appointed by the Department for Communities.   The Committee will invite both you and the landlord to present your case either in writing or at a hearing.  If neither you nor the landlord wishes to hold a hearing the committee will assess the appropriate rent after inspecting the property.  The Rent Assessment Committee assesses the rent using the same criteria available to the rent officer.

Rent reviews

There is no automatic increase applied to registered rents.  However, the Rent Officer can conduct a review of the rents from time to time to determine whether they should be increased.  Speak to an adviser if you have any questions about rent controlled tenancies.