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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Tenant Rights

Property sales are either on a leasehold or freehold basis. When you buy a freehold property you own the property and the land it sits on. If your property is a leasehold property you’ll have to pay an annual charge, known as ground rent, to the person who owns the freehold.

While your housing association has certain responsibilities to you, you also have certain responsibilities. These should be outlined in your tenancy agreement and your tenant's handbook.

Once you're into the second month of your tenancy, do a quick tenancy health check to see if your landlord has given you the legal documents you're entitled to. Checking this information at the start of your tenancy should make sure the tenancy runs more smoothly and will protect you when it comes to the time you want to move out.

The items which you saw when you viewed the property may not necessarily all be included with the letting. Find out if the property is furnished or unfurnished. There is no legal definition of what "furnished" means, so check with the landlord or agent what exactly is included in the property. If you have your own furnishings that you wish to use, you may have to check that the landlord is happy to move existing items out of the property while you're living there.

Not everyone who pays rent for a room or a property is a tenant. Some only have a license to remain in that property and are “licensees”. Licensees don't have as many rights as tenants and it's much easier to evict them.

Housing Executive and housing association tenants should only be evicted as a last resort. Your landlord should work with you to try and resolve any problems and should only decide to go to court to evict you if all other attempts to sort out the problem have failed.

Legally, your landlord or the agent must give you a rent book. There is certain information which must be contained in this document, including your basic rights and obligations. If you don't get a rent book, you can complain to your local council.

If you live in a caravan or a mobile home that is situated on a residential site you have certain rights which are protected by law. These rights will only apply if you live in the caravan as your main home and you’ve been living on the site for at least 12 months. This law won’t protect you if your caravan is only for holidays or you live on a site that’s mainly meant for holiday usage.

Your responsibilities are set out in your tenancy agreement and tenant handbook. There are certain things you must do. If you don’t, your housing association could take steps to end your tenancy.

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