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Housing

Property inspections

  • Introduction

    Our offices remain closed and officers are working remotely, however, visits to commercial and domestic premises have resumed and we will respond on a priority basis. If you have an urgent query or request please contact us by email envhealth@belfastcity.gov.uk or call us on 028 9027 0428.

    Department for Communities has published coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for private landlords and tenants living in private rented housing.

    Both tenants and landlords may request inspections.

  • Inspections for tenants

    If you are a tenant living in a rented property and are concerned that it's in disrepair, or you suspect the property is unfit to live in, you may wish to contact us to arrange an inspection. Please call us on 028 9027 0428 for more information.

    We advise you first report the matter to your landlord or agent. Housing Advice NI have some sample letters that can help.

    One of our officers will carry out an inspection of the property, and if necessary one or more of the following notices may be issued:

    • A nuisance abatement notice - if we deem the disrepair is causing conditions that are bad for health, for example, through damp or dry rot.
    • A notice of unfitness - if we inspect a property and find that it is unfit for habitation.
    • A notice of disrepair - if repair works are necessary, the landlord is given a specific time frame for repairs to be carried out (this notice may only be issued if the property meets the fitness standard).
  • Inspections for landlords

    If you are a landlord and want to carry out certain repairs to your rented property you can ask us to serve a legal notice (Statutory Nuisance Abatement Notice) on your house, which may entitle you to a NI Housing Executive Repair Scheme grant towards the costs of this work. 

    Statutory Nuisances are issued if we deem that the disrepair is causing conditions that are bad for health, for example, through damp or dry rot.

    The NIHE Repair Scheme Grant is paid to the owner or agent of a property. It is based on the net annual valuation (NAV) of your property and is not means tested.

     Net annual value of your property  Grant available
     Less than £60 100% (90% if a regulated rent certificate has been issued)
     Between £60 and £130  75%
     Between £130 and £225  50%
     More than £225  25%

    To qualify for these grants you should contact us and arrange an inspection before you start any work. You could be disqualified from accessing the grant if any repair work has already been carried out.

    During the inspection if we're satisfied that a statutory nuisance exists we'll serve you with a Statutory Nuisance Abatement Notice, telling you what works you need to carry out to put the problem right.

    Certain works require a re-inspection before they are closed up (damp proof membranes, damp proof course, replacing drains, floor joists). You should contact us to arrange the re-inspection of the property. 

    You should also contact Building Control if you suspect the works need building control approval.

    If we inspect a property and find that it is unfit for habitation, we may issue a legal Notice of Unfitness. This notice does not entitle you to a NIHE repair grant. If the property was constructed before 1945 we will notify the rent office and the amount that you pay may be reduced considerably.

    If repair works are necessary, we can also issue a Notice of Disrepair giving a specific time frame for repairs to be carried out. This does not entitle you to grant aid, unless the property is subject to a protected or statutory tenancy under the Rent Order (NI) 1978.

  • Gas appliances and flues

    Landlords must have an annual safety check carried out on their gas appliances, boilers and flues. The check must be performed by a Gas Safe registered engineer. They must provide tenants with a copy of this safety check. 

    These requirements are enforced by the Health and Safety Executive, Gas Compliance Team.

  • Shared houses

    If a landlord rents a house or flat to more than two unrelated people or families it may be considered to be a house of multiple occupation (HMO). If so, it will need to meet HMO legal requirements. Find more information about HMOs.

  • Energy performance certificate

    Landlords renting or selling properties must have an energy performance certificate.  

  • Other information

    Landlords must ensure that any furniture and electrical goods they supply are safe.

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