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When everyone has a home

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An important question to be considered in respect of landlord and tenant law is whether a landlord can seek recovery of all the rent due under a tenancy i.e the remaining fixed term period, when a tenancy is brought to an end early.  As solicitor Chris McGrath explains, the landlord’s right to unpaid rent depends on how the tenancy ended.

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Money Matters, Private Tenancies, Case law, Landlord, Legal

New legislation will alter the rating discounts available to landlords who pay rates in a lump sum. 

Article 20 and 21 of the Rates (Northern Ireland) Order 1977 allow certain landlords to avail of a discount on their annual rates bill if all rates due on their rental properties are paid in a lump sum by the end of September each year.    Landlords who wish to avail of these discounts have to create either an Article 20 or an Article 21 account with Land & Property Services. 

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Private Tenancies, Landlord

We’ve had a number of clients contact us recently saying that they’ve either been threatened with an illegal eviction or, in a few cases, that they have, in fact, been illegally forced out of their property by a landlord. In one case a client stated that the police were in attendance. Indeed, we have had some enquiries as to what role the police should play in an eviction.

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Private Tenancies, Practical tips, Landlord, Adviser

All landlords of properties which are rented out to tenants in Northern Ireland must register their details by the 25 February 2015.

The Department for Social Development, which is responsible for overseeing the private rented sector, is currently promoting the Landlord Registration Scheme throughout Northern Ireland. Any property owners who fail to comply with the scheme may face a fine of up to £2,500.

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Private Tenancies, Landlord

Tenants who are having problems in their privately rented homes can now turn to a new service for assistance.  Smartmove Housing is providing a tenancy sustainment intervention service as part of the Private Rented Sector Access Scheme, funded by the NI Housing Executive.

What is a Tenancy Sustainment Intervention scheme?

Smartmove officers can intervene in a failing tenancy and work with the tenant and the landlord to try to improve the situation.

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Private Tenancies, Practical tips, Landlord

UPDATE: Two courts in England have now ruled that an agent's refusal to allow an applicant to view a property because the applicant was in receipt of benefits was unlawful and indirectly discriminated against the applicant on grounds of gender and discrimination.  Read more about this case on Shelter's website.

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Benefits, Money Matters, Private Tenancies, Landlord

Over 100 delegates attended a packed conference held in Belfast on the 6th November that was aimed to open debate on how the Northern Ireland private rented sector (PRS) can genuinely offer a more viable and attractive longer-term tenure option. The audience, made up of government officials, advice workers, academics, landlords and tenants, heard from speakers across the UK and Ireland.

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Private Tenancies, Policy, Landlord

In December 2013 the Department for Social Development (DSD) published an independent research report outlining recommended changes to the current social housing allocations system.   DSD invited stakeholders to respond to the recommendations contained therein and have now release a summary of these responses.

Recommendations with high level of support

A number of the proposals in the paper were popular with respondents.  These included

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Social Tenancies, Policy, Landlord

The Scottish Government is currently consulting on a range of measures to reform its private tenancy system.  The consultation exercise has been driven by recent changes to the private rented sector in Scotland, where this tenure now accounts for more than 330,000 households.  Since 1999, there has been an increase in the amount of private accommodation rented to families and to those seeking a long term home. 

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Outside NI, Private Tenancies, Policy, Landlord

Anyone involved in letting property in England, Scotland or Wales must sign up to one of three approved redress schemes by 1 October.  Agents who fail to sign up to an approved scheme face a fine of £5,000.

Redress in Northern Ireland

This law does not apply to letting agents operating in Northern Ireland.

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Private Tenancies, Landlord


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