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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Advice for landlords

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.

All landlords in Northern Ireland have to submit their details to a central register. Landlords of Houses in Multiple Occupation also need to register with the Housing Executive. Landlords should also consider joining an organisation that can provide professional support and advice to landlords.

You may need to get a certificate to show that your property is fit for habitation. Certain properties don't need to get the certificate, but it is an offence to fail to apply for one if your property isn't exempt. 

Your tenants are expected to ensure your property is kept in a good state of decoration. This means that the tenant is expected to make sure the property is clean and ventilated. You can take legal action against your tenants if you believe you should be compensated for any damage caused to the property by your tenants.

Private tenants who claim help with their rent will get either Universal Credit or Housing Benefit. There are two different systems used to calculate how much Housing Benefit someone will get. In most cases, the Local Housing Allowance rules will be used to calculate how much Housing Benefit or Universal Credit a private tenant gets to help with rent. But, if you have tenants living in protected tenancies or tenants who have continuously been receiving Housing Benefit since before April 2008 without a change in circumstances their benefits will be calculated using the old Housing Benefit rules that existed before 2008. 

A tenancy deposit is the tenant's money and should be returned at the end of the tenancy. The deadline for returning this depends on whether the deposit was protected or not. You can make deductions from this deposit where you have suffered a loss as a result of the tenants' action or inaction. However, a deposit cannot be used to reimburse you against normal wear and tear and any deductions made from the deposit must be justifiable in court.

A house in multiple occupation or HMO is a type of shared housing, which is subject to additional standards and requirements.

From 1 April 2019 all HMOs in Northern Ireland must be licenced. Local councils are responsible for the HMO licensing scheme.

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.  

Your house needs to be up to certain standards before it can be rented out. You may need to ask the council to inspect your property and will have to abide by certain safety requirements.

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