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Your rights as a tenant

Updated: 23 Jul 2014
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All private sector tenants have five basic rights
Private rented sector home
The Private Tenancies (NI) Order 2006 became effective in April 2007 and has reinforced the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants. Legislation governing the rights and responsibilities of private tenants is very complex - however, all tenants have five basic rights.

Your basic rights as a tenant

A rent book (free of charge)

This should include the name and address of the landlord, the rent (and rates if applicable) payable and when it is due and details of any other payments you should make. The landlord must provide this within 28 days of the start date of your tenancy.

Your right to claim Housing Benefit

All landlords must inform tenants of this right in the rent book. The Housing Benefit for people who rent in the private sector is known as the Local Housing Allowance (LHA).

Freedom from harassment and illegal eviction

This could include things such as changing the locks, cutting off your water or electricity supply, interfering with your possessions or threatening verbal or physical behaviour. The law offers protection to tenants in these circumstances, always seek advice immediately. The Environmental Health Department of your local council has powers to investigate such actions

Adequate notice to quit

All tenants have the right to a minimum of 28 days written notice to quit before any court action to evict can commence.

Due process of law

If a landlord terminates a tenancy but the tenant refuses to move out, the landlord can only recover possession through court proceedings.

Additional rights for anyone whose tenancy started after 1st April 2007

If your tenancy started on or after 1st April 2007 you will have additional rights.
  • Your landlord must provide you with a statement of tenancy terms within 28 days of the tenancy commencement date.
  • Where there is no tenancy agreement or where any agreement does not identify which party is responsible for repairs you have the right to have certain repairs carried out. The law sets out which repairs the landlord and tenant are responsible for.
  • If you do not have a tenancy agreement or the tenancy agreement does not state when the tenancy will end, under the law you have a right to a tenancy that will run for six months initially and after this period it will become a periodic tenancy.
Contact your local Housing Executive district office on 03448 920 900 or visit the Housing Advice NI website for more advice.