Communities Minister Paul Givan has published proposals for a more professional, well managed, affordable and sustainable private rented sector, with security for tenants and landlords.
The proposals follow an extensive review on the role of the private rented sector in Northern Ireland and an assessment of current regulation, identifying where improvements can be made.
Some of the proposals for change include:-
- Written agreements for all private tenants which must contain mandatory terms;
- Restricting the number of times rent can be increased in a 12 month period;
- Further landlord training and a tenant information pack;
- Increasing minimum notice to quit period from four weeks to two months;
- Letting Agent Regulation; and
- Dispute Resolution Service.
A full list of the proposals can be viewed in the Private Rented Sector - Proposals for Change consultation document.
Publishing the proposals for consultation, Minister Givan said: “The Housing Strategy has a clear vision of ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to access good quality housing at a reasonable cost. The private rented sector, which currently accounts for over 16% of the total housing market, has an important role in helping meet that vision.
“With the private rented sector being instrumental in meeting housing need, now and no doubt in the future, my Department has been considering what changes may be required to ensure the sector is one that is more professional, well managed, affordable, sustainable and provides security for tenants and landlords.
“The proposals I am consulting on are evidence based, are responsive to the changing private rented sector landscape and will provide a sound basis for making the private rented sector a better place for all who live or work there.”
The Minister continued: “I would encourage all those with an interest to take the opportunity to respond with views on the proposals outlined. My Department will continue to work with stakeholders to implement changes to this sector for the benefit of all but whatever is introduced, I am clear that it is important to get the balance right, protecting tenants while ensuring good landlords aren’t burdened with unnecessary or cumbersome regulation.”
Responses to the consultation document should be received by 3 April 2017. A copy of the consultation document can be found online.
Following the consultation period the Department will set out how the agreed proposals will be implemented, including any necessary legislation.
Notes to editors:
- The Department will hold four public events as outlined below to facilitate discussion on this document:
- Monday 13 February 2017 at 7.00pm – The Sandel Centre, 6 Knocklynn Road, Coleraine BT52 1WT
- Wednesday 15 February 2017 at 7.00pm – Craigavon Civic Centre, Lakeview Road, Craigavon BT64 1AL
- Monday 20 February 2017 at 7.00pm – Cookstown Enterprise Centre, Derryloran Industrial Estate, Sandholes Road, Cookstown BT80 9LU
- Wednesday 22 February 2017 at 7.00pm – Grosvenor House, 5 Glengall Street, Belfast BT12 5AD
To book your place at any of the above events please notify the Department before Monday 6 February 2017 by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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