Communities Minister, Paul Givan MLA, has reminded students of the laws in place to protect them as they seek accommodation ahead of the new academic year.
All private landlords letting residential property in Northern Ireland must be registered with the Landlord Registration Scheme. Landlords are also required to protect tenants’ deposits, received after 1 April 2013, in an approved tenancy deposit scheme. They must also, within 28 days of receiving the deposit, notify the tenant of how the deposit has been protected.
Minister Givan said: “Students are already arranging accommodation before they begin the new academic year and many of them will take up tenancies with a private landlord.
“I am therefore taking this opportunity to encourage them, and indeed all those in the private rented sector, to ensure their landlord is registered and has protected their deposit.”
The Minister continued: “The Landlord Registration and Tenancy Deposit Schemes were introduced to improve the Private Rented Sector by improving tenants’ confidence in their landlord and increasing landlords’ accountability.
“I want to acknowledge that most private landlords are complying with the law but would highlight that it is important for tenants to be aware of their rights and responsibilities. I would therefore ask all students, particularly at this time of the year, to familiarise themselves with the information available to them about the private rented sector to ensure their interests are being protected.”
If after 28 days of handing over your deposit you have not received information about how it has been protected you should report this immediately to your council environmental health department.
A landlord who does not register may face a fixed penalty of £500 or a court fine of up to £2,500. A landlord who does not protect a tenants deposit may face a fixed penalty of three times the amount of the deposit or a court fine of up to £20,000.
You can check if your landlord is registered by visiting the Landlord Registration Scheme where you can search by a landlord’s name or the address of the property.
Additional information for tenants and landlords, including information on shared accommodation, dealing with repairs and resolving disputes can be found on nidirect.
Notes to editors:
- The three tenancy deposit scheme administrators which operate in Northern Ireland are:
Letting Protection Service NI
My Deposits Northern Ireland
TDS Northern Ireland
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