What is a certificate of fitness?
If you own a property which was built before 1945 and you have started or changed a tenancy since April 2007 then you may need to apply for a Certificate of Fitness.
Apply for a Certificate of Fitness online
It costs £50 to apply for a Certificate of Fitness inspection. This fee is non-refundable.
Re-application for an inspection is £100.
The tenant occupying the property concerned will receive a copy of information provided in the application.
You must complete your application within 28 days of the start date of a new tenancy. It is an offence not to return your application within this period.
Please read the terms and conditions for online services and our privacy statement.
You can also request a printed application form and return it by post, along with your fee (cheques payable to Belfast City Council) to:
Public Health and Housing
Cecil Ward Building
4-10 Linenhall Street
For more information, to get help with your application or to request a printed application form please call us on 028 9027 0428.
About your application
You do not need a Certificate of Fitness for your house if:
- you own and live in your house (if you have a lodger but also live in the property yourself)
- the tenancy began before the Private Tenancies (NI) Order 2006 came into force
- your house was built after 1 January 1945
- a renovation grant for the house has been paid by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (this only applies for a period of ten years from the date of the grant)
- an HMO grant has been paid by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (this only applies for a period of ten years from the date of the grant)
- it is currently registered with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive for multiple occupancy
- it was formerly let under a protected or statutory tenancy where a regulated rent certificate has been issued (this only applies for a period of ten years from the date of the certificate).
If your property meets any of these criteria, you do not need to apply for a Certificate of Fitness and you do not need to complete the application form.
If you apply for a Certificate of Fitness and we later discover that your property does not need a fitness inspection, your application fee will not be refunded.
Timescales and inspections
After you apply for a Certificate of Fitness, it can take up to one month for us to conduct an inspection of your property.
We carry out checks with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, and we also have to write to the tenant to ask if they have any objections to the inspection.
The tenant must reply in writing. If they don’t reply we must hold the application for 28 days before passing it to an inspection officer. We will then try to arrange access to the property by ringing the tenant, landlord or agent.
If your property is deemed fit, following the inspection, we will give you a Certificate of Fitness.
Once your property has received a Certificate of Fitness, it lasts indefinitely or until the council determine the property to be unfit at a later date.
However, if your property is found to be unfit for people to live in, you will be given a notice of refusal. This outlines the type of work needed to make your property fit for people to live in.
Once the repairs are completed, you can re-apply for another fitness inspection. If your property fails our inspection, your rent may be controlled by a rent officer from the start date of your tenancy.