There are a number of things you must consider before deciding to become a landlord. There can be a lot of initial expenditure and you will need to be able to dedicate a certain amount of time to your new business.
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.
Even if you've hired an agent to manage your rental properties, you must make yourself aware of your legal obligations to your tenants. If a legal dispute arises you will need to show that you conducted yourself according to your legal obligations. If you're paying an agent to do this for you, make sure they have a sound knowledge of the legislation that governs the private rented sector in Northern Ireland.
All landlords of private tenancies in Northern Ireland need to register. You can do this online, by telephone or in writing. You will have to pay a fee to register and you'll need to renew your registration every 3 years.
You may need to get a certificate to show that your property is fit for habitation. Certain properties don't need to get the certificate, but it is an offence to fail to apply for one if your property isn't exempt.
There are some essential documents that you must have in order to rent out a property. These include a Fitness Certificate (in some cases), Energy Performance Certificate and a Gas Safety Certificate if there is gas heating or there are any gas appliances in the property.