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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Tenant Rights

You should report any damage or disrepair to your landlord immediately. It's always a good idea to follow up any reports you make over the phone or in person with a letter so both you and your landlord have a record of any work that needs to be done.

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.

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.

You need to know whether you are going to be a tenant who will be protected in law or a licensee who has very few rights in law. It's important that you understand your legal status in your new home.

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.

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.

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