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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Advice for landlords

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.

You are not required to serve a Notice to Quit to bring a fixed term agreement to an end, but you should write to your tenants to find out whether they intend to stay in the property or move on. Finding out your existing tenants' intentions will help minimise the risk of void months, where no rent is paid.

Some landlords may be reluctant to rent a property out to European tenants after Brexit because they are worried about the tenant getting help to pay rent if they stop working. However, European people who were already resident in the UK when Brexit happens can continue to apply for benefits.

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.

Efficient record keeping and filing systems can really help you manage your properties and tenancies effectively. There are certain pieces of paperwork which you should provide to your tenants but you should also ensure that you have kept copies of all of these for yourself.

If you and the tenant cannot agree with how the deposit money should be returned, the tenants may take legal action against you in the Small Claims Court. You should try to resolve the issue outside of court, if you can.

If your tenants' original fixed term has expired and they have not signed a new tenancy agreement they have become periodic tenants. You must serve a valid Notice to Quit on your periodic tenants if you wish them to vacate the property. The amount of notice you must give depends on how long the tenants have lived in the property.

Universal Credit will eventually replace Housing Benefit for the majority of working-age claimants in Northern Ireland. While some accommodation will continue to be assessed under Housing Benefit, all private tenancies will eventually come under the Universal Credit system. 

Your tenants can ask the council to inspect the HMO if they are concerned about conditions. If the council finds a hazard, you may be served with a hazard notice. You can be issued with a fixed penalty notice for £5,000 if you let the HMO be used when it is subject to a hazard notice.

You may have good business reasons for making changes to your landlord business after Brexit. However, you must be very careful to make sure that you don't accidentally end up discriminating against people from European countries. Discriminating against someone because of their nationality is unlawful, whether it is intentional or not.  

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