Disrepair in Privately Rented Houses

For dwelling houses which do not require a Certificate of Fitness, if the Council receives a report of a housing problem or issue, or a tenant or landlord requests it, we can carry out property inspections of dwellings.

Depending on the condition of the dwelling the Council has powers to issue one of the following Notices:

  • Statutory Nuisance Abatement Notice
  • Notice of Unfitness
  • Notice of Disrepair (this Notice may only be issued if the dwelling meets the Fitness Standard)

Statutory Nuisance Abatement Notice
Under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act (Northern Ireland) 2011, if the Council is satisfied that a statutory nuisance exists it will serve a Statutory Nuisance Abatement Notice on the person responsible for the nuisance, or, if appropriate, the owner or occupier of the premises.  Notices can be service on both social and private landlords.

Examples of statutory nuisance:

  • damp caused by defective roof, leaking internal pipes, rising damp
  • dry rot to timbers
  • fumes or carbon monoxide from central heating boilers, open and glass fronted fires, fumes from oil leaks
  • defective drains causing sewage to overflow or allowing rats to escape
  • accumulation of offensive material, rubbish or dog mess

The Notice will specify the works required to correct the nuisance and will specify a time frame within which the works must be completed.  Failure to comply with this Notice is an offence which could result in a fine of up to £5,000.

Landlord Grant
The service of a Statutory Nuisance Abatement Notice entitles private landlords to apply for a Northern Ireland Housing Executive Repair Grant.

Notice of Unfitness
Under the Private Tenancies (Northern Ireland) Order 2006 if the Council is satisfied that a privately rented dwelling is unfit to live in, we may serve a Notice of Unfitness on the owner of the property if this is the most appropriate course of action.   The Council will write to the landlord in the first instance advising what steps are required to make the house fit.  If the landlord does not agree to do the works the Council will issue a Notice of Unfitness.  This Notice will specify the works required and a timescale within which the works must be completed.

If the Council deems the house unfit, this does not mean that the tenant must vacate the property unless extensive works are required that may require the tenant to vacate the dwelling temporarily.

If a Landlord refuses to comply with a Notice of Unfitness the penalty for the offence can be a fine of up to £2,500.

If the dwelling was built before 1 January 1945, and is unfit, the Council will notify the Department of Social Development’s Rent Officer, who may reduce the rent payable on the dwelling.

A Notice of Unfitness can also be issued on post-1945 dwellings, but the rent will not be controlled.  For further information on rent control contact the Department of Social Development.

Notice of Disrepair
Under the Private Tenancies (Northern Ireland) Order 2006 the Council can issue a Notice of Disrepair on any private landlord where their rented property is fit but there is substantial disrepair or where the disrepair is such that it would affect the comfort of the tenant e.g. defective central heating system.

In most cases the Council will notify the landlord of the intention to issue a Notice of Disrepair and will outline the works required. If the landlord does not agree to do the works a Notice of Disrepair will be issued giving a timeframe for completion of the works.

If a landlord does not comply with the Notice of Disrepair the penalty for the offence can be a fine of up to £2,500.

A Notice of Disrepair does not entitle the landlord to grant aid unless the property is subject to a protected or statutory tenancy under the Rent Order (Northern Ireland) 1978.