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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Private tenant

A house in multiple occupation, or HMO, is a particular type of rented housing. HMOs are shared housing, and might be used by students, single people, young workers and people newly arrived in Northern Ireland.

These properties must be licensed. They must also meet extra safety standards.

An area scheduled for redevelopment can contain properties owned privately or properties owned by housing associations or the Housing Executive. At least one third of the properties in a redevelopment area must be considered to be unfit for human habitation.

It is essential that you view any property before you decide to rent it. Once you've signed a tenancy agreement, you are bound by its terms and it can be very difficult to get out of the agreement. Don't let yourself be won over by nice decoration and agent patter.

Many landlords will expect that you pay rent by standing order or direct debit, while others will allow you to make payments in cash. Whichever way you pay your rent, it’s essential that you keep records of all payments and have your rent book completed.

Depending on the type of property you're living in, your landlord may be expected to provide fire safety measures and an adequate means of escape from fire.

Your landlord must follow the correct legal process in order to evict you. If you have a fixed term agreement, your landlord will have to have a reason to evict you. However, if you're a periodic tenant your landlord simply has to follow the correct legal process.

Different things can happen if you have to go to court for a possession hearing. The judge can make an order, schedule another hearing, or dismiss the case.

You might need a guarantor for your tenancy. This is someone who promises to pay the rent, or pay for any damage, if you do not. 

What is a guarantor?

A guarantor is someone who promises to pay anything you owe the landlord. This can include

All HMO properties must be licensed. Before a licence is granted, the council has to be satisfied that the property is suitable for the number of people who will be living in it and that the person who will be managing the property is “fit and proper”.

Some rental properties are offered with "zero deposit". Instead of paying a full deposit, you pay a fee. The fee is normally about one week's rent. You won't get this fee back at the end of your tenancy and you will still be responsible for paying the landlord for any rent arrears you owe or damages you have caused. 

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