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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Advice for landlords

The definition of a House in Multiple Occupation has changed. Some properties which were previously classed as HMOs will no longer fall under the definition. 

A house in multiple occupation or HMO is a type of shared housing, which is subject to additional standards and requirements.

From 1 April 2019 all HMOs in Northern Ireland must be licenced. Local councils are responsible for the HMO licensing scheme.

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.

Certain decisions about HMOs can be appealed at County Court. There are strict time-frames for requesting an appeal and you will need a solicitor to carry out this work for you.

You should make sure that your HMO does not become overcrowded. Overcrowding is a serious offence, and you can be issued with an overcrowding notice if the council believes your HMO is or is likely to become overcrowded. There are two different standards used to work out how many people can live in a HMO property.

In certain circumstances, the council can revoke your HMO licence.

Under the new HMO regime, HMO owners and managers must deal with anti-social behaviour much more proactively. You must have a policy or plan to deal with any anti-social behaviour caused by or affecting the people living in your HMO.

The council can issue a suitability notice if it believes that the HMO is not suitable for the number or type of occupants.

A repairs grant is available to help cover the cost of carrying out repairs required after your local council has issued a Notice of Disrepair on a protected tenancy or a Public Health Notice on any other property. You can get up to £7,500 depending on the type of work needed.

All landlords of private tenancies in Northern Ireland need to register. You can do this online, by telephone or in writing. You will have to pay a fee to register and you'll need to renew your registration every 3 years.

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