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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Advice for landlords

On very rare occasions, criminal gangs may use rented properties as a front for illegal purposes, such as prostitution or cultivation of drugs. If you suspect your rental property is being used in this way, you should contact the police with evidence supporting your suspicions.

You may be eligible for a grant if you own a property that has been flooded or is in a known flood risk area. This grant will allow homeowners to install physical barriers and equipment to help reduce the impact of flooding on their homes. Councils also provide emergency financial assistance to help with the cost of cleaning up after a flood.

If you don't have much time to dedicate to managing your rental properties and the needs of your tenants, you may wish to hire an agent to do this for you. Even if you hire an agent, your tenant must still have access to your name, address and telephone number.

Some landlords will ask tenants to supply a reference. If the tenant can't provide a reference, landlords may ask for a guarantor. If you decide to ask tenants to undergo a credit check you can ask them to pay the cost of this. However, you cannot charge tenants excessive fees for this service. You cannot carry out a credit check without the tenant's consent.

If, at the end of the tenancy, you and your tenants are unable to agree on how to refund the deposit you will be referred by the scheme administrator to a Dispute Resolution Service. The adjudicator will look at the evidence and decide how the money should be returned. Find out more about adjudication and how to avoid disputes.

If your property is severely damaged, in a storm or flood, it may not be reasonable for your tenants to continue living there. These situations can be difficult to resolve legally, so it's best to negotiate with your tenants to try to come to a satisfactory solution.

A shared property that is a HMO has to meet certain standards in order to get its HMO licence. A set of regulations explains the standards in detail. The standards are broken down into different areas.

Landlords and letting agents are required to register with the Information Commissioner's Office and to pay a registration fee. Most landlords and agents will register as a micro or small organisation. 

As the property owner, you should make sure that you keep accurate records for all your rented properties. This should include information on your property's amenities as well as any safety certificates associated with the property. As a landlord, you are running a business and should give the same level of importance to record keeping as you would in any other business venture. You must also comply with the Data Protection Act and may have to notify the Information Commissioner's Office of your business.

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