housingadviceNI: Landlords have to follow the proper procedure to end a tenancy agreement. The first stage in this procedure is to send a Notice to Quit, giving the tenant at least 28 days notice of the date the landlord wants them to leave. If the tenant stays on after that date, the landlord has to go to court to get a possession order to evict the tenant.
housingadviceNI: If a tenant has a signed tenancy agreement, the landlord will have to prove to the judge at court that the tenant has broken this agreement and the judge will then decide if the breach of contract is serious enough to make the contract invalid. If it is, he'll make a possession order. If it isn't the judge can allow the tenant to stay.
Problems in shared housing - what happens if one tenant leaves?
margaret12: yes my son is renting a property in Belfast. he’s not getting on with the other boys that he’s living with but the landlord says if he goes he’ll have to keep paying rent. I don’t think this is fair – is there anything he can do?
margaret12: yes, he is a first year. He is living with a group of boys he had never met before
housingadviceNI: Most students or people sharing a flat end up signing an agreement with "joint and several liability". This is a common term in tenancy agreements, but the meaning of this phrase is not often explained to people when they sign the tenancy. What it means is that the landlord can choose to pursue one or all of the tenants if one of them stops paying rent.
housingadviceNI: Ask your son to have a read over the tenancy agreement to see if this phrase is included. If it is, your landlord could end up trying to get the other boys to make up the difference in the rent, but the landlord does have the option to sue your son for it instead.
housingadviceNI: Your son could try finding someone else to move into the property and asking the landlord to create a new tenancy with that person's name on the new agreement
housingadviceNI: If that doesn't work, he might want to have a chat with the accommodation officer at the students' union. They might be able to help him resolve whatever problems are happening in the house. Problems with flatmates can sometimes be sorted out with a bit of mediation - if the other boys think that there's a chance that they may end up paying extra rent, they might try to sort out whatever problems are happening in the house.
housingadviceNI: You can get your son to ring our advice line too, if he'd rather talk to someone in person about any problems he's having in the house
housingadviceNI: The number is 028 9024 5640 and we're open from 09.30 to 13.30 Monday through Friday
margaret12: Thank you very much. I will pass this all on to him. You have been very helpful.
Housing benefit - sudden reduction in housing benefit payment
Rab-69: can u help with housing benifit?
Rab-69: i lost my job a while back and signed on and got housing benifit but now its been cut and the housing said im not entiteld to any more
housingadviceNI: Right - how much housing benefit were you getting and what's it changed to?
Rab-69: i dont know the amounts but the landlord said that all the rnt wuz paid for the last couple of months but this months is short
housingadviceNI: Okay - if you lose your job or something changes in your life that means you're not able to afford your rent anymore you'll often get your full rent paid for the first 13 weeks of your housing benefit claim
housingadviceNI: After that period, you move on to the Local Housing Allowance rate that you're entitled to. How much you get depends on how many people live with you, your age and what part of NI you live in
housingadviceNI: How many people live with you and what are the first 2 letters after BT in your postcode? Please don't write any personal information here since it's visible to everyone who's reading this page
Rab-69: there's me and the wife and 2 kids. bt16
housingadviceNI: Okay that means you're entitled to the 2 bedroom rate of LHA and should get 93.27 a week. This works out at 404 every calendar month - how much is your rent?
Rab-69: 475. dose that mean i have to pay landlord 70 quid a month
Landlord qualifications and training
HRS-Frances: We have another question that has come in via email, asking if landlords in Northern Ireland have to have any kind of qualifications or training?
housingadviceNI: Thanks Frances. Landlords don't need to receive any sort of basic training or qualifications, but they do need to register
housingadviceNI: All landlords have to give their name, address, contact details and details about the properties they rent out to the Landlord Registrar, which is run by the Department for Social Development
housingadviceNI: There's certain stuff your landlord has to give you when you take on a tenancy and those documents should include the landlord's name and home address. Find out more here: Rent book and tenancy statement | Housing Advice NI Landlords who want training can get it from CIH and Smartmove and might also want to go on some of Housing Rights' training courses. There's also a landlord association in Northern Ireland that can give advice to landlords
housingadviceNI: Landlords who aren't sure about the laws on housing in Northern Ireland or about what they need to do for their tenants can get this information on our website - for free of course! Help and advice for landlords | Housing Advice NI
Agent wouldn't carry out repairs so tenant moved out. Can landlord keep the deposit?
HRS-Frances: We have had a query through on email from someone who has decided to move out because their agent wouldn't fix the boiler. The agent is now keeping their deposit to cover the next months rent. What advice can we offer this tenant?
housingadviceNI: Right - this pretty much depends on whether or not the tenant gave proper notice to the agent explaining that they were going to move out. You have to give notice in writing if you're going to move out of a property. If this tenant hasn't done that, then the tenancy is still rolling on and rent will continue to be due each month.
: If the agent doesn't give the money back, the tenant (who moved in in 2011) will have to try to sue the agent and landlord in Small Claims Court to get the money back. They'll need to convince the court that they gave the landlord time to sort out the problem with the boiler and that they explained to the agent/landlord that they'd have to move out of the property if the problem wasn't sorted out. Unfortunately, the judge might decide that if notice to quit wasn't issued, the landlord can keep the deposit
: I think it would be best if this particular tenant called our advice line on 028 9024 5640 to speak to an adviser
Can I use my deposit to cover the last month's rent?
: Hiya – I’m moving out at the end of October. Everything went grand during the tenancy but the landlord has all of a sudden started to call round and has made comments about some marks on the furniture wall etc. We’ve not damaged the property at all and those marks were there whenever we moved into the property. I think he’s planning on keeping our deposit and is just using this as an excuse. I’ve not paid this month’s rent cause I think he’s going to keep my deposit. Is this okay?
: You have to keep paying your rent. I understand the temptation to withhold this if you're worried about your deposit, but the law says you need to pay rent for living in the property. Did your landlord give you any information about whether or not your deposit was protected?
: yeah we got some paperwork about a company called TDS
: That's good news! This means your deposit has been protected. If your landlord does keep your deposit and you think this is unfair, you can ask TDS NI to adjudicate. This means they'll ask both you and the landlord to give your reasons why it's fair or unfair to make deductions from the deposit and they they will decide who the money should go to. Your landlord will need to provide evidence to show that you've caused damage and to show that the amount he is claiming for is fair and reasonable