Housing and Private Tenancies
The Private Tenancies (Northern Ireland) Order provides a structure for the private rented sector in Northern Ireland. It rewards the efforts of Landlords who wish to provide good quality housing for their tenants and removes restrictions which would hamper the development of good quality, privately rented housing. Protected tenants retain their security of tenure.
The Private Tenancies Order has the potential to remedy housing concerns and some of the main features of the Order are:
- New tenancies are defined according to their fitness for human habitation – an unfit tenancy will be subject to rent control until it is made fit.
- District Councils are responsible for inspecting tenancies for fitness and have been given new powers to ensure that unfitness and serious disrepair are addressed.
- Controlled rents are based on a number of factors including the condition of the property; the equivalent Housing Executive rent for a similar dwelling and the general level of rents in the area.
- Restricted and regulated tenancies will retain their protection. Existing tenants will have a tenancy for life but there will only be one further succession possible rather than two as previously.
- There are no more protected tenancies. On vacancy, all currently protected tenancies will be decontrolled. If the property is rented out subsequently, the rent is not subject to control, as long as the property is fit. As a result, whether a tenancy is furnished or unfurnished no longer has any significance.
- As well as having Rent Books, new tenants have to be supplied with a written statement of the terms of their tenancy. Where a Tenancy Agreement fails to clarify repairing obligations, the law provides default terms.