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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Private tenant

You may be entitled to compensation if you have to leave your home because the area its based in is scheduled to be redeveloped. Homeowners will be paid the current market value for their home and you might also be entitled to compensation for the disturbance. The Housing Executive should rehouse you if you can no longer live in your home because it is in a redevelopment area.

It's easy to be won over by a nicely decorated property, but you need to be sensible when deciding where to live. Consider your household's needs carefully and assess whether the location, size and style of the property suit these. You should also check the property thoroughly for signs of disrepair which may cause issues once you're living in the property.

Almost everyone will experience difficulties paying their bills at some point. If you are worried about falling into arrears or missing a payment of rent, you should talk to your landlord about the problem. Free debt advice is available from a variety of local advice agencies.

The furnishings and electrical appliances your landlord supplies must meet minimum safety standards.

You may be a protected tenant if you have been living in the same property since before 1 April 2007 and the property you are living in is, or was on 1 April 2007, in a poor state of repair. If you're not sure whether you're a protected tenant or not, there are a number of ways to find out.

You have to pay rent to your landlord, whether that’s the Housing Executive, a housing association or a private landlord. When you’re offered a property you should be told how much the rent is and how much your rates and service charges are. If you're not given this information, make sure you ask for it before agreeing to take on a property.

Your landlord does not have to give you a tenancy agreement. But, it's a good idea to have one of these. It means both you and the landlord know your rights and responsibilities. A tenancy agreement is a legal contract. It is very difficult to get out of a tenancy agreement before its end date. 

Estate agents and letting agents will often have their own complaints process. Many agents belong to a professional redress scheme which may be able to sort out problems if you're unhappy with the service you've been given by your agent.

Be sure that you can afford your monthly rent, rates and any other associated costs. If you will be applying for housing benefit or Universal Credit to help you meet the costs of your rent, make sure that you find out how much help you are likely to be entitled to under the Local Housing Allowance rules. Benefit assistance with housing costs will not usually cover your full monthly rent.

Rates are a property tax. The money raised in rates helps to pay for all types of public services. Land & Property Services (LPS) is the agency responsible for collecting rates.

The amount that you pay for rates depends on the value of the property you live in.

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