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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.

Rates are a property tax. The money raised in rates helps to pay for all types of public services. Land & Property Services (LPS) is the agency responsible for collecting rates. Either the tenant or the landlord may have to pay rates in rented properties.

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 are not required to serve a Notice to Quit to bring a fixed term agreement to an end, but you should write to your tenants to find out whether they intend to stay in the property or move on. Finding out your existing tenants' intentions will help minimise the risk of void months, where no rent is paid.

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