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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Advice for landlords

This video explains some of the things landlords who rent out property in Northern Ireland must do to follow the law.  

If you're receiving rent in return for accommodation you are a landlord. You may have lodgers living with you in your home, you may just be renting out a property until the housing market improves, but either way there are certain steps which you are legally required to take.

Viewings are really important so you'll want to ensure they run smoothly. Make sure the property seems inviting, but take care not to mislead the viewers and to give them plenty of time to make their minds up.

The custodial scheme is free for both landlords and tenants to use. There are strict time limits within which you must give the scheme administrator the deposit and a list of prescribed information. You must also provide the tenant with a list of required information within a set time limit. Failing to protect the deposit or provide the current information can lead to a fixed penalty or prosecution. Find out more about the requirements of the Custodial Scheme.

Your local council may contact you if it has received reports about nuisance behaviour from your tenants. This will generally be in relation to rubbish or noise problems.

The council will only grant a HMO licence if it is satisfied that the management arrangements for the property are satisfactory. As well as meeting the fit and proper person test, owners and managing agents are subject to a Code of Practice. Breaching this code could lead to losing your licence.

Certain decisions about HMOs can be appealed at County Court. There are strict time-frames for requesting an appeal and you will need a solicitor to carry out this work for you.

There are a number of things you must consider before deciding to become a landlord. There can be a lot of initial expenditure and you will need to be able to dedicate a certain amount of time to your new business.

As a landlord, you are free to let your property to anyone you wish. However, there are laws which prevent you from discriminating against potential tenants because of their race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation or disability. You must make sure that you treat all applicants in the same manner.

If you use the insurance based scheme you'll be able to hold on to the deposit but will have to pay a fee to the scheme administrator. You will also be subject to strict time limits for registering the deposit and giving prescribed information to the scheme administrator and the tenant. Like the custodial scheme penalties will apply if you fail to act within the required timeframe. Find out more about the requirements of the Insurance based Scheme.

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