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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Arranging viewings

This page is for landlords operating in Northern Ireland.  You can find advice for tenants elsewhere on our website. Private landlords in Northern Ireland can get advice by calling 028 9024 5640 and choosing option 5. 

Once your property has been advertised, you will start to receive calls from people wanting to view the property. How you manage these viewings will depend on whether the property is currently occupied or not.

Viewing an occupied property

If the property is currently occupied by existing tenants, you will need to get their permission before escorting anyone on a viewing.  Check the existing tenancy agreement.  There may be a clause in the agreement requiring sitting tenants to allow viewings in the last month of the tenancy. Even if such a clause exists, you will need to get your tenants' permission before entering the property.  A clause allowing you blanket access to a property without getting the tenant's permission is unfair and unenforceable

If you agree a date and time for viewings with your existing tenants it will make life easier for both of you. Setting up viewing schedules, for example for an hour on 2 different nights a week, will allow the existing tenants to ensure the property is clean and presentable and will not overly impact on their right to peaceful enjoyment of the property.

If you cannot agree a viewing schedule, or you'd prefer to hold viewings on an ad-hoc basis, make sure you get a couple of options from the people who want to view the property. You should then consult with your sitting tenants to find out which option suits them.

Ask your sitting tenants to make sure the property is reasonably clean and presentable during the viewing. When viewing the property, make sure you point out any fixtures or furnishings that belong to the current tenant and will not be included in the letting.

You cannot enter the property without your sitting tenants' consent. The sitting tenant can refuse you entry, but should not do so unreasonably.

Viewing a vacant property

If the property has been vacant for some time, you should check its condition before inviting anyone round to view it.

First impressions really count when someone is looking at properties. There are lots of methods that agents use to make a property seem homely. Above all, you should make sure that the property is clean and tidy. The more inviting the property is, the more likely that someone will want to move in.

If the viewing is scheduled for the winter or in the evenings, make sure that there is a ready supply of electricity to allow sufficient lighting. On colder days, you may want to switch on the heating to make the property more welcoming.

Decoration

Keep your decoration neutral. Some people find strong colours and bold patterns off-putting. Keeping the colour scheme neutral will also make it easier for you to refresh the decoration and mean you have much greater choice in furnishing the property.

Accentuate the positive

Don't be shy about showing off the best points of your property. If you have purchased new furniture or appliances recently, let the potential tenants know. If the property is convenient for local transport links or there is a great restaurant nearby tell the viewer.

Don't mislead the viewer

Make sure you point out any items that are not included with the letting. If, for example, the television belongs to the existing tenants you should ensure that the viewer is not expecting it to be included with the property.

Explain the amenities

Make sure you tell viewers how the property is heated and what type of electricity service you use. Show them where any meters are located.

Meet the flatmates

If you are letting rooms in a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO), it might be helpful to make sure an existing tenant is available when any prospective tenants come on viewings. Existing tenants can help answer any practical questions that the viewer may have.

Take notes

As long as you do not discriminate on grounds of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or disability, you can let the property to whichever viewer you prefer. It's helpful to take some discreet notes so you can differentiate between viewers in case more than one of them wishes to take the property.

Taking on a tenant

Sometimes a tenant will agree to take on the property on the strength of an initial viewing. If this is the case, you can start drawing up the paperwork for the tenancy agreement.

In some cases a tenant may only agree to take on the tenancy if certain works are carried out before the tenancy begins. If this is the case, you should write to the tenant, specifying the works which you have agreed to carry out and a time frame for completion.