Private Rented Sector Landlord Newsletter no.21 - Apr 18

Part of: Private Rented Sector Landlord Newsletter

Welcome to our latest edition of the Newsletter for private landlords. This edition contains important information about Landlord Registration renewal for the Landlord Registration Scheme.

Landlord Registration Renewal

Are you aware that you can renew your registration 8 weeks before your registration is due to expire?

A renewal email notification will be issued to the email address you used at registration 8 weeks prior to your registration expiring. Alternatively, check your registration certificate and renew eight weeks before your registration expires.

To renew your registration, follow the instructions for Manage my Registration.

Updating your landlord registration details

If you registered recently and created keycodes for other joint owners

Universal Credit – Housing Benefit ‘transitional payment’

From 11 April 2018, claimants who are in receipt of Housing Benefit and subsequently move to Universal Credit will receive an extra two weeks Housing Benefit known as a ‘transitional payment’.  These ‘transitional payments’ will be made by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and are intended to reduce the potential for claimants to fall into arrears with their rent payments as they move from existing benefits to Universal Credit.

As the majority of Northern Ireland Housing Benefit payments are paid directly to the landlord on behalf of the claimant, this ‘transitional payment’ will be made to the existing payee. 

If the claimant is in Housing Benefit arrears, this payment can be offset against the arrears.  However, landlords should be aware some claimants may request a refund of this ‘transitional payment’ where their rent account is not in arrears. 

Further information can be found on nidirect and the NIHE website or by calling the Northern Ireland Housing Executive on 0344 8920 902. 


What is the transitional payment for?

In the Autumn Budget 2017, Government announced that from April 2018, claimants who are in receipt of Housing Benefit will continue to receive their Housing Benefit payment for the first two weeks following their Universal Credit claim. This is intended to reduce the potential for rent arrears as claimants move from existing benefits to Universal Credit.

Will claimants be advised they are to receive this?  

Claimants will receive a letter from NIHE advising them of this transitional payment.  Further information can be found on the NIHE website and nidirect or by calling the Northern Ireland Housing Executive on 03448 920902. 

What is the criteria for a refund?

The Transitional Payment is provided to support the claimant in their transition to Universal Credit therefore if a claimant does not have rent arrears they will be entitled to claim a refund from their landlord. 

“Out of sight out of mind” Travellers’ accommodation in Northern Ireland

In March 2018 the Human Rights Commission produced a report: “Out of sight out of mind: Travellers’ accommodation in Northern Ireland”. The Commission has asked the Department to remind landlords of the Race Relations (NI) Order 1997. 

CIH ‘Learning 2 Let’ Programme

Learning to Let course schedule: April – July 2018

As a private landlord, it has never been more important for you to understand your legal obligations, as well as those of your tenant.

The Learning 2 let training programme is a level 2 CIH qualification developed specifically to meet the needs of registered private landlords.

And because this programme is in receipt of bursary support from the Department for Communities (DfC), you can now undertake this practical 3-day training course for a total cost of just £100.

Location Session 1 Session 2 Session 3
Derry-Londonderry Thurs 26 Apr Thurs 24 May Thurs 21 June
Causeway & Glens Thurs 3 May Thurs 31 May Thurs 28 June
Lisburn & Castlereagh Wed 2 May Wed 30 May Wed 27 June
Ards & North Down Thurs 10 May Thurs 7 June Thurs 5 July
Belfast Tues 15 May Tues 12 June Tues 10 July

Online learning option

Start date: Monday 4 June 2018
End date: 12 weeks from start date

Where to book

  • For further information about Learning 2 Let, visit the learning 2 let website  
  • To book a place on your preferred course now, email Trevor Wright / call CIH on 028 9277 8222.

Housing Executive Private Tenants Survey published

Two out of three tenants plan to stay in the private rented sector for the next five years, according to research published by the NI Housing Executive.

The Private Tenants Survey report on research into the views and experiences of privately renting tenants has been recently released by the Housing Executive.

The full survey results and report are available on the NIHE website.  

Landlord Advice – Helpline for landlords

A pilot Landlord Advice line has been in operation since January 2017 and demand for the service has been growing. This free service is for Landlords who have registered with the Landlord Registration Scheme and callers must have their Landlords registration number to hand when making a call.

Below are a few examples of the types of queries received and the advice provided;

1. Emma contacted the landlord helpline as her tenant wanted to leave the tenancy, due to mould in the property. The tenant had previously reported the problem and Emma instructed a builder to come out and check the property. The builder informed Emma that it was condensation, as he believes the tenant has not had the heating on enough with the cold weather. She is unsure what to do next.

Informed Emma that she would be responsible to repair any damp that would be prejudicial to the health of the occupants or caused by a structural issue, but isn’t usually the case with condensation. Advised that in order to check if the mould is prejudicial to the health of the occupants, she could contact her local Environmental Health department to visit the property and assess the mould.

Explained to Emma that if Environmental Health also concur with the builder and state it is condensation then she could advise the tenant of this. The repair could be the tenant’s responsibility to rectify if proven the cause is their neglect. However other factors should be investigated such as proper ventilation in the property. Advised Emma if the damp is prejudicial to health, or caused by a structural issue, then she would be responsible to carry out the repair.

2. Tim contacted Landlord Advice, after his tenant was made redundant from his job and needed to claim for help with housing costs. The property was in an area were universal credit has just recently begun for new claims and those with a change of circumstance. Tim’s tenant had managed to get their housing costs set up with Universal Credit but was not getting any help with rates. Tim has other properties with tenants who do get help with rates and would like to know if there is help with rates for Universal Credit claimants.

Advised Tim that there is help with rates for a Universal Credit claimant, however this is applied for separately. Explained to Tim that the tenant would need to apply for a Rates Rebate on-line through NIdirect’s website. Informed Tim that he would also need to log in to provide information about the tenancy and the property.

Explained to Tim that once the Rates Rebate claim is set up, it is paid directly to the rates account. Therefore, he would need to take this in to consideration when determining if the tenant would have a shortfall to pay and how much this shortfall would be.

3. Sean contacted the Landlord Helpline as his tenant has fallen behind in the rent. The tenant was getting help with housing benefit but still had a shortfall to pay. The tenant has not paid the shortfall for 2-3 months. She had told him she was struggling after Christmas but would be able to pay soon. He wanted to know his options.

Discussed with Sean the option to negotiate with tenant to pay the arrears back over time. Also advised Sean of a discretionary housing payment that the tenant may be able to apply for to help her with the shortfall between her benefits and rent due. Sean was unaware of discretionary housing payments. Explained that the tenant can apply for this through the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. Discussed the possibility of taking the arrears at the end of the tenancy from the deposit.

Advised Sean if he is unable to come to an agreement with the tenant he would have the option to evict the tenant and/or pursue for the arrears through small claims court if they are under £3,000. Discussed notice to quit regulations and due process with Sean.                          

Landlord Advice is available between 9.30am – 2.30pm Monday to Friday. Call 028 90 245640 and pick option 5.

Information from Tenancy Deposit Administrators

LPS Northern Ireland

LPS Northern Ireland has created guidance for landlords on how to perform a great check-out. It can help minimise the chances of deposit disputes arising, and provides guidance on collecting the evidence they may need if a dispute does occur.

HMRC help and support

If you are a new unincorporated landlord or just need a refresher HMRC has a selection of useful online help and support.

HMRC’s online course, 'Letting out property' provides guidance on property lettings which you can refer to at any time. It explains the changes which introduced cash basis for landlords, the use of the mileage rate method for claiming motoring expenses and provides information on income tax relief on residential finance costs. It also explains how Capital Gains Tax affects you.

For help at a time that suits you, take a look at HMRC’s new series of mini recorded webinars on income from property for individuals:

HMRC has launched the Small Business Forum for small businesses, the self-employed and landlords with income from property. 

There are also live webinars, which provide an overview on the tax treatment of income and expenses for renting out UK property.

Individuals with income from UK residential property

Choose from available dates here

No special equipment is needed, use the links to receive an invitation and connect using your desktop computer or any smart device. Use the on-screen textbox to ask questions and receive a response.

Details of guidance to support landlords can be found on the GOV.UK website. 

Information and guidance

nidirect brings together lots of information from government departments and agencies. It provides information and services on many topics including buying, selling or renting a home, your neighbourhood, rates, building regulations, homelessness and evictions.  For further information, visit nidirect.



Back to top