Housing Information for Landlords
Landlord Registration Scheme
All private landlords must register with the Department for Communities Landlord Registration Scheme.
Registration lasts for three years, and landlords must re-register after each three year period.
Registration costs £80; if you register online you get a £10 discount.
The Council enforces the Landlord Registration Scheme. If a landlord fails to register or provides false information for registration, a fine of up to £500 can be imposed or you can be taken to court where you could be fined up to £2,500.
If you require further advice, please visit http://www.housingadviceni.org or contact Housing Rights on 028 9024 5640.
- Register online at https://landlordregistration.nidirect.gov.uk
- Call 0300 200 7821 to request a form
- Collect a registration form from our offices in Newry or Downpatrick.
Tenancy Deposit Scheme
A tenancy deposit is money which you may ask your tenant to pay when they start to rent a house, as protection against damages to the property or for unpaid rent. From 1 April 2013, it must be protected in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
Any deposit for a private tenancy taken by a landlord or agent must be protected in an approved tenancy deposit scheme.
The deposit must be secured in an approved scheme within 14 days and a tenant must be informed that their deposit has been secured within 28 days. All the approved schemes are free to use.
If you do not protect the deposit, or comply with the requirements of the deposit scheme, you could face a fine (up to three times the value of the deposit) or be prosecuted in court, where you could be fined up to £20,000.
Types of Schemes
There are two types of deposit scheme:
- Custodial Scheme: this is where the landlord protects the entire tenant's deposit in the scheme until it becomes due at the end of the tenancy.
- Insurance Scheme: this is where the landlord can hold the deposit on the condition they pay a fee and/or an insurance premium to the scheme to protect the deposit, until it becomes due at the end of the tenancy.
Who Runs the Scheme?
Department for Communities has appointed three scheme administrators to operate the schemes; each of these organisations provides both custodial and insurance schemes.
- My Deposits
- The Dispute Service NI
- Letting Protection Service Northern Ireland.
The Council enforces the scheme for all private rentals in the Newry, Mourne and Down Council area.
More information is available on NI Direct website.
A tenancy statement must be provided if a tenancy started after April 2007.
This must contain the information outlined in the Tenancy Terms Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007.
If you do not provide your tenants with a tenancy statement within 28 days of their tenancy beginning, this means a six month tenancy has been created and you must meet the default repairing obligations.
These repair obligations are outlined in the Private Tenancy (Northern Ireland) Order 2006.
For more information about your legal responsibilities as a landlord, visit Housing Advice NI.
Inspections for Landlords
If you are a landlord and you want to carry out certain repairs to your rented property, you can ask us to serve a legal notice (Statutory Nuisance Abatement Notice) on your house, which may entitle you to a NI Housing Executive Repair Scheme grant towards the costs of this work.
Statutory Nuisances are issued if we deem that the disrepair is causing conditions that are bad for health, for example, through damp or dry rot. The notice will state what works you need to carry out to put the problem right.
The NIHE Repair Scheme Grant is paid to the owner or agent of a property. It is based on the net annual valuation (NAV) of your property and is not means tested.
To qualify for these grants you should contact us and arrange an inspection before you start any work. You could be disqualified from accessing the grant if any repair work has already been carried out.
You should also contact Building Control if you suspect the works need building control approval.
If we inspect a property and find that it is unfit for habitation, we may issue a legal Notice of Unfitness. This notice does not entitle you to a NIHE repair grant. If the property was constructed before 1945 we will notify the rent office and the rent may be reduced considerably.
If repair works are necessary, we can also issue a Notice of Disrepair giving a specific timeframe for repairs to be carried out. This does not entitle you to grant aid, unless the property is subject to a protected or statutory tenancy under the Rent Order (NI) 1978.
Certificate of Fitness
If you own a property which was built before 1945 and you have started or changed a tenancy since April 2007 then you may need to apply for a Certificate of Fitness.
A Certificate of Fitness inspection costs £50. This fee is non-refundable.
Re-application for an inspection is £100.
The tenant occupying the property concerned will receive a copy of information provided in the application.
You must complete your application within 28 days of the start date of a new tenancy. It is an offence not to return your application within this period.
You can download an application form and return it by post, along with your fee (cheques payable to Newry, Mourne and Down District Council) If you need help with your application, or for more information, call us on 0300 013 2233.
About Your Application
You do not need a Certificate of Fitness for your house if:
- Your house was built after 1 January 1945
- You own and live in your house
- The tenancy began before the Private Tenancies (NI) Order 2006 came into force (April 2007)
- No renovation grant has been paid in the last 10 years
- No HMO grant has been paid by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) in the last 10 years
- It is currently registered with NIHE for multiple occupancy
- A regulated rent certificate has been issued within the last 10 years.
All application fees are non-refundable.
Timescales and Inspections After Application
It can take up to one month for us to conduct an inspection of your property as we have to write to the tenant to ask if they have any objections to the inspection.
The tenant must reply in writing. If they don’t reply we must hold the application for 28 days before passing it to an inspection officer. We will then try to arrange access to the property by ringing the tenant, landlord or agent.
If your property is deemed fit, following the inspection, we will give you a Certificate of Fitness. However, if your property is found to be unfit for people to live in, you will be given a notice of refusal. This will outline the type of work needed to make your property fit for people to live in. Once the repairs are completed, you can re-apply for another fitness inspection.
- application to conduct an inspection for fitness