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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Tenant Rights

The Housing Executive and housing associations have a number of responsibilities to their tenants. If you’re not happy with your landlord's service you can use the complaints procedure.

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.

Your landlord must be very careful when trying to evict your from a protected tenancy. Unless the landlord can prove that certain criteria apply to your tenancy, any eviction could be illegal.

Victoria, a housing adviser with Housing Rights recently graduated from University. We've asked her what ten things she wishes she'd known when she started out as a private renter. 

Moving house is a stressful experience. Being well organised can help to minimise the difficulties you may encounter.

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.

You'll usually have to pay out quite a bit of money when you first move in. Most landlords will expect a month's rent as a security deposit and insist on rent being paid in advance. If you're on a low income, you may be entitled to housing benefit to help you meet the cost of your rent, but this is always paid in arrears. Make sure you get receipts for any money you pay out and keep these safe.

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.

There are certain fundamental rights which all private tenants enjoy. Your tenancy agreement may give you additional rights and responsibilities but it cannot take away your basic legal rights.

Protected tenancies are a type of rent-controlled tenancy. You could be a protected tenant and not be aware of this fact. If you are a protected tenant, the amount of rent that your landlord can legally charge you is restricted.

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