Private Rented Sector
Council has several responsibilities in relation to the Private Rented Sector
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 £70 for registrations made online and £80 for a non-electronic method.
You can register as a landlord through one of the following options:
☎️ Telephone by calling 0300 200 7821
📝 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 £500 can be issued, or prosecution by Council may result in a fine up to £2,500.
Further information on Landlord Registration is available online
Tenancy Deposit Scheme
A tenancy deposit is money which your landlord or landlord’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 14 days and the tenant must be informed that their deposit has been secured within 28 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.
Department for Communities has appointed three scheme administrators operate the approved Tenancy Deposit Schemes.
If a landlord or landlord’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 £20,000.
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme also makes it illegal for a landlord or landlord’s agent to take a deposit in any other form than money. The fine for taking a deposit in any other form of £500 or prosecution by Council may result in a fine of up to £2,500.
Private Tenancies – 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:
📌 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
📌 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
📌 The property is licenced as a HMO by the district council; or
📌 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 £50.
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.
A landlord must provide a tenant with a Rent Book within 28 days of the tenancy starting. The Rent Book should be used to maintain a written record of rent and any other payments in respect of the tenancy and must also include information such as the amount of rent payable and the time period covered by each payment and whether the Rates are payable by the landlord or the tenant.
Further information on the Private Rented Sector is available from
Housing Mediation Service
Housing Rights is piloting Northern Ireland’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:
📌 Property standards
📌 Entry rights
📌 Rent/rates arrears
📌 Unprotected tenancy deposits,
📌 Threatened evictions
📌 Breach of tenancy terms
📌 Noise/Anti-social behaviour
Further information is available either: 💻 online or ☎ telephone by calling 028 9024 5640
Department of Communities Guidance for Private Rental Sector
The Department for Communities has produced guidance setting out general advice and information predominantly for tenants and landlords in the private rented sector. The guidance covers issues which may arise during the Covid-19 outbreak including what to do if you/your tenant is struggling with paying rent, advice around carrying out emergency repairs, and information on minimising moves within rented accommodation and eviction proceedings.
The guidance includes links to further detailed information and sources of advice and assistance including the Housing Executive, Housing Rights and the Public Health Agency. The advice contains information around additional sources of finance at this time (including help with housing costs and information on how to access assistance with mortgage holidays).
The guidance will be kept under review and updated as matters develop.
For further information please contact the Health, Housing and Public Conveniences Team
☎ : 028 71253253
📧 : health&[email protected]