When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Renting advice for foreign nationals

This page only contains basic information and is the English version of our translated content.  For more detailed advice and information on housing in Northern Ireland in the English language, use the menu options on the homepage. 

If you rent your accommodation from a private landlord, you rent privately and become either a "tenant" or a "licensee".

It is important to know which of these you are, as tenants have a range of legal rights, while licensees have very few. Get advice from Housing Rights or another advice agency if you are not sure about your rights and obligations when renting privately.

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When you rent privately, you have certain rights and responsibilities as a tenant. Likewise, your landlord has responsibilities towards you.

A tenancy agreement is a legal contract which you should read carefully before signing. Get advice if you are worried about signing a tenancy agreement and remember that a verbal agreement can count as a tenancy agreement in the eyes of the law. Don't sign the tenancy agreement until you are happy with all the terms.

Your landlord must ensure that your accommodation is suitable when you move in. Landlords must have a valid gas safety record from a registered gas engineer for each gas appliance in your accommodation. Furniture provided by your landlord should be fire resistant.

Both you and your landlord must give the correct notice in order to bring the tenancy to an end. Just as your landlord can't throw you out on the street overnight, you can't simply walk away from the tenancy if you don't want to live there anymore.

Most tenants pay a security deposit when they move into a property. When you move out, you are entitled to have this returned to you. The deposit should be returned in full unless you have caused damage to the property or the landlord has suffered a genuine financial loss as a result of something you, or your guests, have done or have failed to do.