Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has today introduced a Private Tenancies Bill in the Assembly improving protections for tenants living in the private rented sector.
Minister Hargey said:
“I am putting the needs of tenants at the heart of my approach. Private renters should have access to a good quality, affordable homes with peace of mind over the length and conditions of their rental contract. There needs to be improved health and safety measures to keep people and families safe. I want to see restrictions in rent increases and I want to extend the notice to quit meaning we protect tenants when it comes to evictions.
“I’m committed to making our housing system better for people and families. The housing market has changed dramatically over the past few decades, so our legislation needs to keep up.”
The Minister concluded:
“This is just one of the much needed steps in my reform of the housing system, and there is more to come. In addition to this bill, I have tasked my officials to undertake further work to ensure more protections are provided to those living in the private rented sector.”
Notes to editors:
- The Private Tenancies Bill is available at Private Tenancies Bill
- The changes follow a consultation on the Role and Regulation of the Private Rented Sector. The Department’s response to the Consultation is available at Private Rented Sector in Northern Ireland - Proposals for Change | Department for Communities . In includes potential future changes including Letting Agent regulation, introduction of grounds for eviction and a review of fitness standards.
- The private rented sector is now similar in size to the social housing sector.
- Nearly half of those in the private rented sector are in receipt of some element of housing support, either through Universal Credit or Housing Benefit. In 2019/20, over £270 million pounds was paid out in Housing Benefit and Universal Credit costs to the private rented sector.
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