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When everyone has a home

Housing and debt helpline for Northern Ireland – 028 9024 5640

New video helps private tenants find the key to successful renting

Local charity Housing Right Service is launching a new video for anyone thinking about renting privately at the Welcome Organisation in Belfast today.

The Key to Successful Renting is a 3 minute video that is designed to help people find private rented accommodation and understand their rights. The video has been scripted and overseen by members of Northern Ireland’s first Private Tenants Forum – a group of tenants who have come together to help improve conditions in private rented sector. Many of the forum members have encountered difficulties in accessing and sustaining tenancies and want to see an improvement in how tenants are treated in the private rented sector (PRS).

Tracey McKeating, one of the founding members of the forum, commented: “When I was looking for accommodation, I didn’t realise how to go about it or what my rights were.  But the video helps to explain this. I would encourage anyone looking for a place to rent to check our video out first, especially before signing up to anything. You can watch it at Housing Rights Service website.

The private rented sector meets a wide range of housing needs. The sector has grown enormously in recent years and accounts for approximately 17% of all households, or nearly 130,000 homes in Northern Ireland. With lengthy waiting lists for social housing, more families and individuals are turning to private landlords for accommodation.

Nicola McCrudden, Housing Rights Service Policy Manager commented: “One in three of the enquiries to our advice line are from people renting privately so we know that tenants can often be unsure about their rights and responsibilities. The video looks at key things people need to bear in mind and should help avoid problems when renting.”

Housing Rights Service tips for a hassle free tenancy are:
1.    Don’t panic and sign up for the first property you see – it pays to shop around
2.    Think about the type of property suited to your needs- shared, self contained, flat or house.
3.    Consider the location – is it near schools, shops, bus route?
4.    Could you afford the costs involved-deposit, rent, rates, heating, electric?
5.    When viewing a property look out for any disrepair or signs of damp.
6.    Check the inventory of items in the property, including their condition, before signing off.
7.    It’s advisable to have contents insurance, as this isn’t normally covered by the landlord.
8.    Don’t sign a tenancy agreement unless you are clear about the obligations placed on you.
9.    Know your rights and responsibilities as a tenant.
10.    If in doubt get free, independent advice.

As well as being available on the Housing Rights Service website, the video will be posted on social media and supported by an outdoor advertising campaign.

People experiencing homelessness or housing problems can contact Housing Rights Service on 90245640 for free independent advice.

ENDS

Notes to editors:
For further information contact Claire at Housing Rights Service on 90 245640

Spokespersons will be available for comment

•    Established in 1964 Housing Rights Service (HRS) is the leading specialist provider of independent housing advice in Northern Ireland.  The charity works to improve lives by tackling homelessness and housing problems.
•    The Forum was set up in 2012 as a partnership with Housing Rights Service.  Its aim is to encourage tenant participation in shaping relevant legislation, policy and practice in the private rented sector.
•    In 2013/2014 HRS provided advice and assistance on over 40,000 housing issues
•    The film was produced by the design company Gerry Can