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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Advice for landlords

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 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.

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.

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.

The council has a number of enforcement tools available to deal with problems in HMOs. As well as a system of fixed penalty notices, the council can serve certain statutory notices on a HMO owner or manager. 

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. 

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. 

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