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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Advice for landlords

From 1 April 2019 all HMOs in Northern Ireland must be licenced. Local councils are responsible for the HMO licensing scheme. There are several significant changes which will impact on landlords of HMO properties. 

You should make sure that your HMO does not become overcrowded. Overcrowding is a serious offence, and you can be issued with an overcrowding notice if the council believes your HMO is or is likely to become overcrowded. There are two different standards used to work out how many people can live in a HMO property.

The Landlord Advice NI service has received lots of calls and messages from landlords who are worried about the coronavirus pandemic. Landlords who need advice can contact Landlord Advice on 028 9024 5640, option 5. 

Once you've chosen your tenants, you need to draw up a tenancy agreement and provide the tenant with certain legally required documents.

Many landlords prefer to install meters in rented properties, meaning that utilities such as electricity and gas must be pre paid. If your property is a HMO, you may not legally be allowed to install a prepay electricity meter. It's worth considering cabling your property for utilities such as broadband to make your property more attractive.

Your tenants have a right to peaceful enjoyment of the property they rent and you have a responsibility to ensure that right is observed. This means you cannot enter the property without their permission and you cannot allow others to access the property.

If the tenant has caused damage to the property, you are entitled to financial compensation for any repairs you carry out. This compensation can only be awarded by the courts so it's essential that you keep records of any evidence which will support your claim that the damage is the fault of the tenants.

The Rent Officer, rather than individual landlords, sets all rents for protected tenancies. If a landlord wishes to increase the amount of rent which can be legally charged on this type of tenancy, s/he must request a Rent Determination from the Rent Officer.

The definition of a House in Multiple Occupation has changed. Some properties which were previously classed as HMOs will no longer fall under the definition. 

Any deposits taken on or after 1 April 2013 must be registered with an authorised Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme administrator. Deposits taken before that date don't need to be registered with one of these schemes.

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