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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

New rules for shared housing

A new system for licensing and managing Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) came into effect on 1 April 2019. The main changes are

  • the definition of what a HMO is has changed, removing some properties from the regime;
  • councils have taken over the responsibility for looking after HMOs, with Belfast City Council acting as lead HMO unit;
  • HMO properties must be free from specified hazards, which pose a risk to the safety of the occupants;
  • a new licensing scheme has replaced the old registration scheme;
  • a new “fit and proper” person test applies to HMO owners and managers;
  • HMO managers will have to adhere to a Code of Practice that includes a requirement to proactively manage complaints about anti-social behaviour;
  • the council can issue fixed penalty notices as an alternative to prosecution for certain offences.

Keeping up to date with HMO changes

Housing Rights will be providing training on the new system in May in both Belfast and Derry/Londonderry. You can find out more on our training pages. 

We've also updated HousingadviceNI with relevant information for tenants and landlords of HMO properties. 

Tagged In

Regulation, Private Tenancies


Etain Ní Fhearghail

This article was written on 3 April 2019. 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.