What you need to know as a new Landlord in Northern Ireland

Registration

As a landlord you are required to register your details with the NI Landlord Registrar, if you own HMO property you must also register with the Housing Executive. This can be done via an online application form, there is a £70 charge and your license needs renewed every 3 years.

Deposit Protection

Any deposits taken after 1 April 2013 are required by law to be protected by the landlord via 1 of 3 tenancy deposit schemes available in Northern Ireland. These are My Deposits, Tenancy Deposit Scheme NI and Letting Protection Service NI. Within 28 days you must give the tenant, deposit amount and tenancy address, landlord name and contact details, contact details of agent if acting on your behalf, correspondence address, details of the scheme, details of how the deposit will be refunded, information on what will happen if tenant is not contactable at the end of the tenancy.

Legal Documentation

Legally you are required to provide to your tenant within 28 days of move in, a rent book, your landlord registration number, gas safety certificate, energy performance certificate and the details of the deposit protection scheme you are using.

From 1 April, houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) will need to have a licence issued by Belfast City Council. A property will be HMO if 3 or more people are in occupation from at least 3 separate families or households and at least one is paying some form of rent. The main aim is to protect the health and safety of tenants, who will be able to check online if their home is licensed properly. Licences can be removed or revoked for several reasons and councils can impose specific conditions. They can also refuse to issue a new licence if the landlord is not deemed fit or if there is already over-provision of HMOs in the area.

Right of entry

Once a tenant starts to pay rent on a property, that property becomes the tenants home. Tenants have the right to peaceful occupation. Even though as a landlord you are the owner of the property, your rights to enter are very limited. It is important to place the terms of entering the property on the tenancy agreement to avoid disputes. You are only permitted to enter the property is there is an emergency and a genuine risk of damage to the building or its inhabitants or neighbour without the consent of your tenants. All other occasions must be okayed by the tenants with a minimum of 24 hours notice, this includes contractors or maintenance workers. It is important to note on the tenancy agreement that after tenants hand in their notice, that viewers and agents are to be permitted into the property, without this contracted, your tenants have the right to refuse entry.

If you have more questions about becoming a landlord or are interested in becoming a landlord, get in touch with us. At Eldron we can help you source the ideal Rental Property, find tenants, provide contracts and also provide Property Management services for Landlords. We are happy to advise with any of your queries.