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.
If you're receiving rent in return for accommodation you are a landlord. You may have lodgers living with you in your home, you may just be renting out a property until the housing market improves, but either way there are certain steps which you are legally required to take.
If you don't have much time to dedicate to managing your rental properties and the needs of your tenants, you may wish to hire an agent to do this for you. Even if you hire an agent, your tenant must still have access to your name, address and telephone number.
It's important that you keep up to date with changes in housing legislation, policy and practice to make sure that you are operating within the law. You may wish to consider taking part in an accredited training programme or joining a professional body. This type of training and support could help you deal with any problems that arise with your tenants and help you manage your properties effectively.
Find out as early as possible who will be responsible for managing the property. You will usually be expected to report repairs and problems to the property manager, who can be the landlord or an appointed agent. Even though the property has been marketed by an agent, the landlord may not have contracted the agent to manage the property.
There are a few important pieces of paperwork that you'll need to keep safe once you become a tenant. You will usually be asked to sign a tenancy agreement, but this is not always the case. If you do sign a tenancy agreement, make sure you get a signed copy.
Professional bodies such as the Landlords Association of Northern Ireland, the National Landlords' Association and Housing Rights may be able to provide assistance and training if you on your legislative requirements and how to resolve problems with tenants. These agencies can also help you keep up to date with changes in the private rented sector and how they will affect you and your business.
Landlord Advice NI
Landlord Advice is a free, confidential advice service for landlords in Northern Ireland.