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Private Rented Sector

Private Rented Sector

Council has several responsibilities in relation to the Private Rented Sector

Recent Changes to the law on private renting in Northern Ireland 

From 1 April 2023 Sections 1 to 6 of the Private Tenancies Act (Northern Ireland) 2022 will commence and landlords and tenants need to be aware of the additional legal requirements which this new law introduces. Some of the main changes include:-

Landlordโ€™s Notice relating to the granting of a tenancy (Tenancy Information Notice)

A landlord must now provide a tenant with a free tenancy information notice within 28 days of a private tenancy starting. This notice will provide important information about the tenancy, including the amount of rent payable and the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants to help avoid disputes. The Tenancy Information Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2022 set out the information and the form of the notices required. 


Landlords must provide a receipt to any tenant who pays rent or any payment relating to their tenancy in cash. The receipt must include specific details, including the payment date and the amount paid. A landlord must provide the receipt at the time the payment is made and, where possible, a tenant should only make a cash payment when a receipt is available.

Landlords need to be aware that it is an offence to not provide a receipt or provide a receipt that is late or provide a receipt that contains incorrect information.

Tenancy Deposits

Landlords can no longer ask for a tenancy deposit of more than one monthโ€™s rent. Landlords now have up 28 days to protect a tenancy deposit and up to 35 days of receipt of the deposit to give required written information to the tenant. If a landlord does not protect a deposit in a tenancy deposit scheme, they could be prosecuted.

 For further useful guidance and information on these requirements and other changes introduced by the new law please click on the following link,to%20a%20tenant%20has%20increased

Landlord Registration
All private landlords who have let or intend to let a residential property must register with the Department for Communities (DFC) Landlord Registration Scheme.
Registration lasts for a period of 3 years, and  landlords must re-register after each 3 year period.
The cost to register is ยฃ70 for registrations made online and ยฃ80 for a non-electronic method.
You can register as a landlord through one of the following options:

๐Ÿ’ป Online

โ˜Ž๏ธ Telephone by calling 0300 200 7821 

 ๐Ÿ“ Collect a Registration Form from the Health & Community Wellbeing Team in Council, 98 Strand Road Derry or 47 Derry Road, Strabane 

Council enforces Landlord Registration for DFC, and if a landlord fails to register or provides false information in relation to registration a Fixed Penalty Notice of ยฃ500 can be issued, or prosecution by Council may result in a fine up to ยฃ2,500.

Further information on Landlord Registration is available online

Tenancy Deposit Scheme
A tenancy deposit is money which your landlord or landlordโ€™s agent may ask you to pay when you start to rent a house. In order to provide safeguards from 1st April 2013 the law requires that any deposit provided by a tenant be protected in an approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme.  The approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme holds onto the deposit until the end of the tenancy and will also act as mediators in any disputes over deposits. 

The deposit must be secured in an approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme within 28 days and the tenant must be informed that their deposit has been secured within 35 days.

There are two types of Tenancy Deposit Schemes

  • Custodial Scheme - the entire tenant's deposit is secured in the Scheme until it becomes due at the end of the tenancy. 
  • Insurance Scheme - the landlord can hold the deposit, on the condition they pay a fee and/or an insurance premium to the Tenancy Deposit Scheme to protect the deposit, until it becomes due at the end of the tenancy.

The Department for Communities has appointed two scheme administrators to operate the approved Tenancy Deposit Schemes.

  ๐Ÿ“Œ Tenancy Deposit Scheme Northern Ireland    

  ๐Ÿ“Œ My Deposits Northern Ireland

 If a landlord or landlordโ€™s agent does not protect a deposit, or comply with the requirements of the Tenancy Deposit Scheme a Fixed Penalty Notice of three times the value of the deposit can be issued, or prosecution by Council may result in a fine of up to ยฃ20,000.

The Tenancy Deposit Scheme also makes it illegal for a landlord or landlordโ€™s agent to take a deposit in any other form than money.  The fine for taking a deposit in any other form of ยฃ500 or prosecution by Council may result in a fine of up to ยฃ2,500.

Private Tenancies โ€“ Fitness Inspections
In order to provide a better standard of accommodation within the private rented sector in Northern Ireland unless the property is exempt the Private Tenancies (NI) Order 2006 requires properties built before 1st January 1945, whose tenancies commenced after 1st April 2007 to have a fitness inspection.

A property is exempt if:

 ๐Ÿ“Œ A renovation grant was paid by the Housing Executive within the last 10 years (but only for a period of 10 years from the date of the grant); or

๐Ÿ“Œ A HMO grant was paid by the NIHE within the last 10 years (but only for a period of 10 years from the date of the grant); or

๐Ÿ“Œ The property is licenced as a HMO by the district council; or 

๐Ÿ“Œ A house formerly let under a protected or statutory tenancy where a Regulated Rent Certificate has been issued by the Council, but only for a date of 10 years from the date of the Certificate.

An Application Form must be completed and submitted within 28 days of the tenancy commencing together with a fee of ยฃ50. 

Properties are inspected by an Environmental Health Officers against the Fitness Standard.  If the property meets the Standard a Certificate of Fitness will be issued.  The current statutory minimum fitness standard is set out in Article 46 of the Housing (NI) Order 1981 and requires that a property

  • Is structurally stable;
  • Is free from serious disrepair;
  • Is free from dampness prejudicial to the health of the occupants;
  • Has adequate provision for lighting, heating and ventilation;
  • Has an adequate piped supply of wholesome water;
  • Has satisfactory facilities in the house for the preparation and cooking of food including a sink with a satisfactory supply of hot and cold water;
  • Has a suitably located water closet for the exclusive use of occupants;
  • Has, for the exclusive use of occupants (if any), a suitably located fixed bath or shower and wash hand basin each of which is provided with a satisfactory supply of hot and cold water;
  • Has an effective system for draining foul, waste and surface water.

If the property does not meet the Fitness Standard a Notice of Refusal will be issued.  The Notice of Refusal will state the reasons for the refusal and will indicate the works in which the opinion of Council will be necessary for the property to meet the Fitness Standard.  The property will be subject of rent control and an appropriate rent will be set by the Rent Control Officer for Northern Ireland.  Council will also consider the most satisfactory course of action in respect of the property and determine whether further action is necessary.

Further Information
Further information on the Private Rented Sector is available from 

๐Ÿ“Œ Department for Communities        

๐Ÿ“Œ Department for Communities Landlord Newsletter

๐Ÿ“Œ NI Direct

๐Ÿ“Œ Housing Rights

๐Ÿ“ŒHousing Advice NI

Housing Mediation Service

 Housing Rights is piloting Northern Irelandโ€™s first mediation service which will help in resolving disputes in the private rented sector. The service is free and is open to registered landlords, tenants, letting agents and Housing Associations operating in the private rented sector. The service can help with many disputes, including:

๐Ÿ“Œ Property standards

๐Ÿ“Œ Repairs

๐Ÿ“Œ Entry rights

๐Ÿ“Œ Rent/rates arrears

๐Ÿ“Œ Unprotected tenancy deposits,

๐Ÿ“Œ Threatened evictions

๐Ÿ“Œ Breach of tenancy terms

๐Ÿ“Œ Noise/Anti-social behaviour


Further information is available either: ๐Ÿ’ป online  or โ˜Ž telephone by calling 028 9024 5640

Department of Communities Guidance for Private Rental Sector

The Department for Communities has produced online guidance setting out general advice and information for tenants and landlords in the private rented sector. This guidance can be found at 

Contact Details

For further information please contact the Health, Housing and Public Conveniences Team
 โ˜Ž : 028 71253253
๐Ÿ“ง : health&[email protected] 

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