Private landlords

If your tenant(s) qualify for or is getting help with their housing costs (rent/rates) through Housing Benefit then there are a number of points you must consider:

How much might be paid?

All tenants of private landlords who qualify for help for their housing costs through housing benefit will have their claim assessed based on the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rent level. 

For your information we recommend you read more about LHA.

Certificate of Occupation

To ensure prompt assessment of your tenant’s claim and payment of housing benefit you must complete a Certificate of Occupation.  We cannot make any housing benefit payments until this form is completed and returned to us.

You can choose:

Complete online

Changes in Circumstances

If your tenant experiences a change in circumstances which it was reasonable for us to expect you to report and we pay you too much housing benefit then you will have to repay it.

Changes might include:

  • your tenant moving out,
  • if you have a number of properties a tenant moving to another property which you own; or
  • your tenant changing room in your property.

This can be reported:

Please provide your landlord reference number

Online:  change in circumstances

Telephone: 03448 920 902 | NGT* 18001 03448 920 902. 

How we contact you

Once you’re established as a landlord to whom we pay housing benefit, we will only contact you by email.  Therefore you must have a valid email account. You will be sent a secure pin number by post so you can access online your payment schedule with the Housing Executive.

To ensure you receive housing benefit emails please add our sending email address ‘nihelandlordemail@belfastcity.gov.uk’ to your address book, contacts list and/or safe sender list for your email account and to any anti-virus software you use.

Additional advice for private landlords

There are a number of requirements which you must meet if you are a private landlord.  

You can find out more on nidirect – the government’s website – about letting your property and private renting

You can seek independent legal advice if you have any questions about letting your property.  Other advice services you could contact include:

Landlord Registration Scheme

By law, all private landlords in Northern Ireland must register with the Landlord Registration Scheme.  Find out more on nidirect.

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)

The Housing Executive no longer has responsibility for regulating HMOs. Since 1 April 2019 Councils have responsibility for licensing HMOs and carrying out the necessary checks and inspections. They also ensure that the property is suitable for the specified maximum number of people that will occupy it. Find out more about HMO licences on Belfast City Council’s website which manages the delivery of the scheme on behalf of all local councils.

Universal Credit / Rate Rebate

People of working age may have to claim Universal Credit and Rate Rebate to help with their housing costs, rent and rates.

Universal Credit only pays towards the rent element of housing costs, rates must be paid separately through Rate Rebate.  You must ensure your tenant knows what his/her separate rent and rates amount are.

You will find more information on the Dept for Communities website about Universal Credit and on nidirect about the Rate Rebate Scheme and how to set up a Landlord Rate Rebate account.

Advice disclaimer

The information in this section is for general advice only. We recommend that you contact your local Housing Benefit office if you have any queries.


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More help with paying your housing costs
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