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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. Any HMO that is currently registered will have this registration automatically converted to a licence. You should take note of when your existing registration is due for renewal so you can apply for a licence in advance of this date.

All tenants have a legal right to apply for housing benefit to help them with their housing costs. You should get to know how housing benefit is calculated and paid.

Once your property is up to standard and you've decided on a fair rent to charge you should advertise it as available to let. There are a number of ways you can do this.

Your tenants have a legal right to know your name, address and telephone number. If you have paid for the services of an agent, but your tenants have decided to contact you directly, you should talk to your tenants to find out why. The agent may not be providing the services you are paying them for or may not be carrying out their legal obligations.

When a tenant is late with rent or hasn't paid, it can have a huge effect on your own finances. Contact your tenants as soon as possible to discuss any arrears, as there may be a valid reason for them.

If you're planning on making certain improvements to your property, you may qualify for financial assistance. You'll also be entitled to certain tax allowances.

To ensure proper management of HMOs and the safety of HMO occupants, councils can only issue a licence where they are satisfied that the owner, and any managing agent, is a fit and proper person.

Under the new HMO regime, HMO owners and managers must deal with anti-social behaviour much more proactively. You must have a policy or plan to deal with any anti-social behaviour caused by or affecting the people living in your HMO.

As with any business, being a landlord carries risk. Keep records of any letters or messages you send to your tenants when you're trying to sort out problems. These will help if a legal dispute arises and you end up in court.

When a rental property is contained in an apartment block or housing development, either the tenant or the landlord may be expected to pay an annual service charge. This charge will usually cover maintenance and repair work in communal areas.

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