phoneTwitterFacebook
ear
 
When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Taking on a new tenancy

Once you've found somewhere you'd like to live and have agreed the terms with your landlord or agent you'll want to make plans to move in. If you've told the landlord or agent that you are moving in on condition that they carry out certain repairs or decorative work, make sure you get a commitment to do this in writing.

There are a few important pieces of paperwork that you'll need to keep safe once you become a tenant. You will usually be asked to sign a tenancy agreement, but this is not always the case. If you do sign a tenancy agreement, make sure you get a signed copy.

You might need a guarantor for your tenancy. This is someone who promises to pay the rent, or pay for any damage, if you do not. 

What is a guarantor?

A guarantor is someone who promises to pay anything you owe the landlord. This can include

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.

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.

Your landlord has to protect your deposit within 28 days of you paying this money. They also have to give you certain information about your deposit and the company protecting it. 

Your landlord does not have to protect your deposit if you paid it before 1 April 2013. 

It can be difficult to gather up a deposit as well as a month's rent in advance. There are a few places that may agree to provide your landlord with a guarantee or work out a payment plan, allowing you to pay off your deposit in installments.

Landlords usually ask tenants to pay rent at the start of the month. This means that you may have to pay a month's rent in advance as well as a deposit before you move in to your accommodation. You may be able to get help to cover this rent in advance.