phoneTwitterFacebook
ear
 
When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Taking deposits

Advice for landlords in Northern Ireland

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 choose option 1. 

You have to protect deposits in an approved scheme. You can be fined, or taken to court, if you don't do this. There are 3 companies in Northern Ireland who can protect deposits for you. 

You don't have to protect a deposit if the tenant paid it before 1 April 2013. 

The Housing Amendment Act (NI) 2011 introduced a legal requirement for any deposits taken as part of a residential tenancy to be registered with a tenancy deposit protection scheme. This requirement will apply to any deposits taken on or after 1 April 2013. Find out more about the requirements and appointed scheme administrators.

The custodial scheme is free for both landlords and tenants to use. There are strict time limits within which you must give the scheme administrator the deposit and a list of prescribed information. You must also provide the tenant with a list of required information within a set time limit. Failing to protect the deposit or provide the current information can lead to a fixed penalty or prosecution. Find out more about the requirements of the Custodial Scheme.

If you use the insurance based scheme you'll be able to hold on to the deposit but will have to pay a fee to the scheme administrator. You will also be subject to strict time limits for registering the deposit and giving prescribed information to the scheme administrator and the tenant. Like the custodial scheme penalties will apply if you fail to act within the required timeframe. Find out more about the requirements of the Insurance based Scheme.

A security deposit belongs to a tenant. You should look at this money in the same way that you would an insurance policy. You have no right to the money unless you have suffered a financial loss which was caused by the tenant failing to do something that he or she was contractually or legally obliged to do.

The tenants may not be happy if you deduct money from their tenancy deposit. They can ask the deposit scheme, or the court, for help if they think your charges are unfair.