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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Advice for landlords

Anyone who receives payment to allow someone to live in a property owned by them is a landlord. Even if you're just letting your home to a friend while you travel, you need to comply with the laws surrounding renting. If you are thinking about becoming a landlord, it's important that you become familiar with your legal obligations and understand how much work is involved.

The definition of a House in Multiple Occupation has changed. Some properties which were previously classed as HMOs will no longer fall under the definition. 

If your tenants' original fixed term has expired and they have not signed a new tenancy agreement they have become periodic tenants. You must serve a valid Notice to Quit on your periodic tenants if you wish them to vacate the property. The amount of notice you must give depends on how long the tenants have lived in the property.

It's important that you keep up to date with changes in housing legislation, policy and practice to make sure that you are operating within the law. You may wish to consider taking part in an accredited training programme or joining a professional body. This type of training and support could help you deal with any problems that arise with your tenants and help you manage your properties effectively.

A house in multiple occupation or HMO is a type of shared housing, which is subject to additional standards and requirements.

From 1 April 2019 all HMOs in Northern Ireland must be licenced. Local councils are responsible for the HMO licensing scheme.

From 1 April 2019 all HMOs in Northern Ireland must be licenced. Any HMO that is currently registered will have this registration automatically converted to a licence. You should take note of when your existing registration is due for renewal so you can apply for a licence in advance of this date.

To ensure proper management of HMOs and the safety of HMO occupants, councils can only issue a licence where they are satisfied that the owner, and any managing agent, is a fit and proper person.

The council will only grant a HMO licence if it is satisfied that the management arrangements for the property are satisfactory. As well as meeting the fit and proper person test, owners and managing agents are subject to a Code of Practice. Breaching this code could lead to losing your licence.

All landlords in Northern Ireland have to submit their details to a central register. Landlords of Houses in Multiple Occupation also need to register with the Housing Executive. Landlords should also consider joining an organisation that can provide professional support and advice to landlords.

Unless your tenancy agreement forbids subletting, your tenant can sublet rooms in the property. If your tenant sublets, the property could become a House in Multiple Occupation or, if it is already a HMO, subletting could lead to your HMO becoming overcrowded.

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