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.
Estate agents and letting agents will often have their own complaints process. Many agents belong to a professional redress scheme which may be able to sort out problems if you're unhappy with the service you've been given by your agent.
Even if you've hired an agent to manage your rental properties, you must make yourself aware of your legal obligations to your tenants. If a legal dispute arises you will need to show that you conducted yourself according to your legal obligations. If you're paying an agent to do this for you, make sure they have a sound knowledge of the legislation that governs the private rented sector in Northern Ireland.
If you are liable for rates on your rental properties, you must ensure that payment is made promptly to LPS. Where the tenants are liable for rates, payment is there responsibility and there is no risk to you if the tenants do not pay the bills.
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.
If you own a property you'll normally have to pay rates on it, even if the property is empty. You'll get a rates bill for the empty property automatically and you won't be entitled to an early payment discount. Some empty properties can be excluded from the rating system. It's worth checking to see if you can apply for an exclusion.
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.