Total: £0.00

picture of telephone  click icon for access to housing law in practice reference manual for membersMailing ListTwitterFacebook  YouTube

When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

International Tenants Day - 7 October 2013

Every year, on the first Monday of October, International Tenants Day is celebrated around the world, and many housing organisations highlight the valuable contribution people renting their homes make to society.  Housing Rights Service is keen to add its voice to marking this annual celebration of the unique role tenants play in our community and the need to enhance and protect their rights.


International Tenants Day originated in 1986 when the French tenant organisation CNL proposed a special world day for tenants.  The council of the International Union of Tenants agreed, and decided that it should coincide with World Habitat Day (the first Monday in October).  Across the globe housing and tenancy issues are promoted and expounded on this landmark day.  Issues such as the need to adequately protect the rights of tenants, the importance of affordable rents, and tenant participation in housing policy development are highlighted.

In Northern Ireland over 30% of people rent their homes either from private landlords (nearly 17%); from the Housing Executive (just over 11%) or Housing Associations (over 3%). Compared to other European countries fewer people are accommodated in rented accommodation. In Germany for example approximately 60% of people live in the private rented sector alone.

Historically the views of tenants have not been to the forefront in housing policy-making and although provision has been made to involve social tenants, government and agencies have been slow to recognise and involve private tenants as a stakeholder.

NI Private Tenants’ Forum

In a bid to address this deficiency, Housing Rights Service has assisted in developing a Private Tenants’ Forum to help articulate and promote the views of local renters to government and other decision-makers. The NI Private Tenants’ Forum was set up in 2012 and involves tenants based in specific localities and communities of interest across Northern Ireland. Membership is drawn from private tenants whom, by choice or necessity, have found themselves in rented accommodation and wish to see an improvement in standards. The forum is an associate member of the UK National Private Tenants Organisation.

The aim of the forum is to encourage tenant participation in shaping relevant legislation, policy and practice in the private rented sector (PRS). The objectives of the forum are:

  • To support and encourage consumer driven improvement of the PRS sector
  • To help create a culture that is committed to the principles of tenant involvement in the future development of the PRS
  • To provide a supportive environment for PRS tenants to exchange and share views
  • To actively influence legislation, policy and practice in areas relevant to private tenants

The forum submitted evidence to the Department for Social Development’s draft Housing Strategy in 2012 and representatives participated in a stakeholder event organised by the NI Assembly’s Committee for Social Development on 11 April 2013.  Members of the forum also assisted Housing Rights Service with a mystery shopping exercise investigating the charging of upfront fees by letting agents in Northern Ireland in March 2013.  In addition, the forum submitted evidence to the Department of Finance and Personnel's recent consultation on the review of rates liability in the landlord sector with oral evidence provided to the NI Assembly’s Committee for Finance and Personnel in June 2013.

Further information

Further information on the forum is available from Peter O’Neill, Policy & Participation Officer. More detail is also available on the forum’s web page

A special section on knowing your rights as private tenants is also available on our public advice website.

Tagged In

Private Tenancies

This article was written on 2 October 2013. It should not be relied on as a statement of the current law or policy position. For help with housing issues please contact our helpline on 028 9024 5640 or use our online chat service at www.housingadviceNI.org.