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.
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.
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.
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.
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.