All landlords in Northern Ireland must register certain details on a central database. If you rent a room in your home to a lodger, you won't need to register as long as the person renting the room is a licensee rather than a tenant.
When you register, you'll be given a Certificate of Registration. Your registration number will be listed on your certificate. You should use this number in any correspondence you enter into as a landlord. The details of the scheme are contained in the Landlord Registration Scheme Regulations (NI) 2014.
Who needs to register
Any landlord who rents out a property will have to register his or her details and the details of each rental property. If you rent a room in your home to a lodger, you won't need to register as long as the person renting the room is a licensee rather than a tenant. Anyone named as owner on the deeds of a rental property must register. If you own the property jointly, both you and your co-owner need to register, but only one person will need to pay the registration fee.
When to register
You must register before you can rent out your property. If you rent out property and you have not registered, you can be penalised or prosecuted by your local council.
How to register
You can register online, using the NI Direct website, or by calling 0300 200 7821. You can also register in writing by completing an application form. Application forms are available from Land & Property Service and council offices.
If you're using an agent to manage the property, the agent can register for you. However, it's in your interest to make sure this has been done properly. If you're not properly registered you, rather than your agent, can be issued with a fixed penalty of £500 or fined up to £2500 if you are convicted.
Fees and required information
You'll have to pay a fee to register. This will be £70 if you register online and £80 if you register using the paper application form. You won't have to pay the fee if you have a current valid registration on the HMO register. You'll need to renew the registration after 3 years. For your registration to be valid, you'll need to supply the following information:
- your full name
- your address, email address and telephone numbers, including any mobile numbers
- a correspondence address for you in Northern Ireland if this is different to the other address you have provided
- your date of birth
- the company registration number if the landlord is a company
- the name, address and contact number of any agent acting on your behalf
For every property you let you'll need to supply:
- the address, including the postcode
- the date the house was built
- the name and contact details of any joint owners
If you don't have to pay fees because you've already paid to register a House in Multiple Occupation, you'll need to supply:
- the HMO registration certificate number and
- the address of each HMO
Publicly available information
Most of the information on the register will only be visible to people who need to access the register to carry out official work, such as officers from the local council, Land & Property Services or the Housing Executive.
Members of the public will be able to search the registrar by entering either a landlord's name or the address of a property. The database will confirm if the landlord has registered or if the property has been added by a registered landlord. The online database will not disclose a landlord's name if someone searches by the property address.
Your registration will last for 3 years. The registrar will let you know 4 weeks before your registration lapses. If you are still operating as a private landlord, you'll need to renew your registration.
If your details change during the 3 year period, you can update your registration details by logging in to the register. You'll need to enter your email and password to access your records. There won't be a charge for updating your details.
Failing to register
You'll be guilty of an offence if
- you give the registrar false information
- you rent out a property without registering your details
- you fail to provide evidence of your registration in particular circumstances
The council can issue a fixed penalty of up to £500 if you do not register. If you do not pay the penalty, the council can take you to court. If you're convicted of these offences you could be fined. If you fail to register or give false information you could be fined up to £2,500. If you fail to provide evidence of your registration you could be fined up to £500.