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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Tenancy agreement

Landlords in Northern Ireland are not obliged to give tenants a tenancy agreement. However, it’s a good idea to ask for a written tenancy agreement so both you and your landlord fully understand your obligations and your rights. A tenancy agreement is a legally binding contract. Once you have signed this document, you have committed to pay the rent for the full term of the contract.

You need to know whether you are going to be a tenant who will be protected in law or a licensee who has very few rights in law. It's important that you understand your legal status in your new home.

You don't have a right to a tenancy agreement. A landlord only has to provide a written tenancy agreement if the tenancy is due to last for longer than one year. If you don't have a tenancy agreement, you have basic rights that have been set out in law. 

In an emergency, you can enter the rented property to secure it or make it safe for others. However, you cannot usually enter the property without the prior consent of your tenants.

Your tenancy agreement can give you additional rights, beyond those afforded to you in legislation. When drawing up a tenancy agreement, remember that any terms which are seen to be unfair are unenforceable.

Depending on the value of the property either the landlord or the tenant can be held liable for rates in a rented property. You should be very clear on who is liable for rates and should have procedures in place to ensure that these are paid. Rates must also be paid on properties which are vacant.

Landlords in Northern Ireland are not obliged to give tenants a tenancy agreement. However, it’s a good idea to ask for a written tenancy agreement so both you and your landlord fully understand your obligations and your rights. A tenancy agreement is a legally binding contract. Once you have signed this document, you have committed to pay the rent for the full term of the contract.

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