Landlords must ensure they are registered with Department for Communities’ Landlord Registration Scheme and that if they take a deposit from a tenant that this is secured in an approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
They must also ensure that their properties comply with the statutory fitness standard and are free from disrepair; and they have provided their tenant with a rent book.
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke, said: “Ideally we want to have good relationships between landlords and their tenants, and fostering those relationships means ensuring that all the necessary rules and regulations are being followed. It’s also important that landlords keep good records and documentation and provide regular maintenance and deal with repairs within a reasonable time. From a Council perspective it is always better to see compliance in order to avoid enforcement action, but where it is required Council officers will do so, so I would ask landlords to please be sure to follow the regulations in place.”
Landlords should also be aware that should they evict a tenant without following the due process of law they will be guilty of an offence. Due process of law involves a landlord serving their tenant with a Notice to Quit in writing and due to the Covid pandemic the minimum Notice to Quit period that a tenant is entitled to was increased to 12 weeks.
There is a free Landlord Advice telephone helpline service provided by Housing Rights available to registered landlords in NI. Further information is available at www.landlordadviceni.org/ or by calling 028 9024 5640 (option 5). Further tenancy related information is available from www.derrystrabane.com/Subsites/Health-Community-Wellbeing/Health-Housing-Public-Conveniences/Public-Health-and-Housing/Private-Rented-Sector