When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Required property standards

This page is for landlords operating in Northern Ireland.  You can find advice for tenants elsewhere on our website. Private landlords in Northern Ireland can call Landlord Advice on 028 9024 5640 and choosing option 5. Lines open Monday to Friday, from 9.30am to 2.30pm.

Before you put a property on the rental market, you should make sure that it meets all the relevant fitness and safety standards. There are additional standards if the property will be a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO). This is usually the case if you are intending to let to groups of students or people who are not all family members. A HMO is classified as a property where more than 2 people from different families live. Buildings which have been converted from single homes into flats are also regarded as HMOs.

You may be legally obliged to obtain a fitness certificate for your property before putting it on the rental market. Certain buildings will not require a fitness certificate.

All rented properties must, at the very least, meet the basic fitness standard. However, even if your home meets the fitness standard it could still be regarded as unfit by inspectors from your local council. You should try to maintain the property to a standard that you would be happy to live in.

If your property has a gas heating system or any gas appliances you must ensure that these are checked annually by an engineer who is listed on the Gas Safe Register. Annual checks are recorded on a log called a Gas Safety Record. You must keep these records up to date and keep them for at least 2 years.

Before letting your property for the first time, you should have all the wiring and electrics in the property checked by a qualified electrician. Check your insurance policy to see if it insists on regular electrical checks. Failure to carry out electrical checks could nullify your policy in the event of a fire. If you are providing furnished accommodation you must ensure that all furniture provided complies with the minimum safety standards.

Properties which can be classed as HMOs must be registered and must meet certain additional standards. Landlords of HMOs which are unregistered or do not meet these standards can be prosecuted and could end up subject to a hefty fine.