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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Private tenant

A landlord who continually acts in a way that is designed to make a tenant leave the property could be guilty of harassment

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.

Your landlord needs to have proper reasons to make a claim on your deposit money. All landlords have a legal responsibility to provide tenants with an inventory at the start of their tenancy. A good landlord should take a detailed inventory when you move into the property and use the same inventory when you move out of the property to check if the condition or cleanliness of the property has got a lot worse.

Private renters can get help to pay their rent. You can apply for help if you're out of work or if you are working. If you are not already getting help to pay your rent, you should claim

  • housing benefit if you are over pension age, and
  • Universal Credit if you are below pension age. 

Your landlord has to protect your deposit within 28 days of you paying this money. They also have to give you certain information about your deposit and the company protecting it. 

Your landlord does not have to protect your deposit if you paid it before 1 April 2013. 

Your Universal Credit is normally paid directly to your landlord, but you can ask for it to be paid to you instead. If you get Housing Benefit, you can choose whether you want the money paid to you, to the landlord or to the estate agent. 

Help is available from the environmental health department of your local council. Harassment is illegal, but it is important to be aware that your landlord could try to evict you to punish you for reporting him or her. Your landlord will have to follow the correct legal procedure if he wants to do this.

Get advice if you are having money problems. It can be hard to ask for help, but there are lots of organisations who will help. They won't judge you or make you feel bad. They are there to help you deal with your debt.

In very limited circumstances, consumer protection regulations may allow you to "unwind" your tenancy agreement.  This right only applies within the first 90 days of the contract and will only apply if you can show that you only entered into the contract because of misleading information or aggressive practices. 

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