If you rent from a private landlord both you and your landlord have certain rights and responsibilities.
Your landlord must give you:
- a rent book
- a tenancy statement
- an energy performance certificate
Ask your landlord for these documents and if you have any problems call us on 028 9027 0428.
Your landlord must also be a registered landlord. Visit nidirect to check your landlord and their property is registered.
Northern Ireland has a tenancy deposit scheme. From 1 April 2013, any deposit for a private tenancy taken by a landlord or agent must be protected in an approved tenancy deposit scheme.
Certain rented houses require a fitness inspection. If you want to make a complaint regarding fitness, disrepair or damp in your property please contact us on the number above.
For advice on houses of multiple occupancy (more than two unrelated people sharing), contact the NI Housing Executive on 028 9031 8931 , Belfast HMO office on 0344 892 0900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
If your house has gas appliances or flues your landlord must provide you with a copy of the annual gas safety check. For further advice on gas contact the Health and Safety Executive's free gas advice line on 0800 300 363, or visit the Health and Safety Executive website.
Unlawful eviction and harassment
If you have lived in your rented home for less than 5 years and a landlord wants you to leave your property they must give you 28 days notice in writing. The landlord must not change the locks without obtaining a court order.
If they make you leave the home by interfering with gas, electricity, water, making threats, or frequently entering the property without consent it is harassment.
If you are worried about this, call 028 9027 0428.
Tenants: Harassment and unlawful eviction - Belfast City Council
Condensation, mould and damp is a common problem particularly in older houses. It may be seen as water droplets on windows or patches of mould on walls, furnishings and clothes.
There are simple steps you can take to treat mould or condensation in your home and prevent its recurrence.
Make sure you:
- have a working smoke alarm
- test your smoke alarm every week
- have and practice a fire escape plan
- know the five main causes of house fire
- check your fire extinguishers on the day you move in – alert your landlord if they have been used at all, this will benefit your safety plus you will not be held accountable at the end of the year when deposits are being returned.
- check for a fire blanket
Before you go to bed:
- close all internal doors
- put out cigarettes and candles properly
- check that the cooker is off
- switch off unwanted electrical appliances
For more information, call 028 9066 4221 or visit the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service. Landlords are required to make sure furniture and electrical items they supply are safe and meet relevant fire safety requirements. Students can contact us on 028 9027 0431 if they have concerns about how fire resistant furnishings are.
Carbon monoxide poisoning
Carbon monoxide is a highly poisonous gas that has no smell, colour or taste. It can be released by any appliance that burns oil, solid fuel, wood or gas, including boilers.
When you inhale carbon monoxide it starves your body of oxygen. Low level exposure over a long period of time can cause permanent brain damage and in more serious cases death.
Make sure you are aware of the symptoms and how to protect yourself and your housemates. You should also install a carbon monoxide detector.
If you think there are carbon monoxide fumes in your home or suspect that a flue or heating appliance is blocked or faulty, you should switch off the appliance and open your window. You should not sleep in the room.
We can investigate complaints regarding fumes or carbon monoxide entering your property. Call us on 028 9027 0428 for more information.
Find out more about carbon monoxide poisoning.
Rubbish and recycling
It is important that you put you general waste bin and your recycling bin or boxes out for collection. If you don't, you could attract rats and mice to your home. If you don't have a general waste bin, ask your landlord to get you one.
If you live in a shared house (a house of multiple occupancy is more than two unrelated people sharing) and the landlord refuses to supply you with a bin, you should contact the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.
To make sure your bin is collected:
- put your bin out by 7am
- make sure the lid closes and don't put out any extra rubbish in bags
Find out more about bins.
Recycling facilities are available for Queen's University students living in Queen's Elms, Guthrie House, College Gardens and Mount Charles halls of residence. If you live in private rented accommodation in areas such as the Lisburn Road, Stranmillis, the Holylands, or Botanic Avenue area, you will have kerbside recycling boxes. Boxes and food waste bins can be ordered online or through waste management on 0800 032 8100.
Find out more about which items you can recycle and the location of recycling centres.
To make sure your recycling box is collected put your box out on your kerbside by 7am.
If you require a recycling bin contact our helpline free on 0800 032 8100. All recycling boxes are free.
Some households may also have a wheeled bin for recycling dry materials.
If you are caught littering or dumping rubbish, you get will get a £80 fine. And if you fail to remove offensive rubbish from your property, you could be prosecuted and fined up to £5,000.
If you're having trouble with pests, call us on 028 9027 0431 for advice or visit our pest control pages for more information.