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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Communicating with tenants

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 call Landlord Advice on 028 9024 5640 and choosing option 5. 

You should keep records of any communication you receive from or send to clients. This can be difficult if you only communicate by telephone, so it's a good idea to follow up any telephone conversations with a letter or email.

Discrimination issues

Discrimination legislation means that you have a duty to communicate with your tenants in a manner that is appropriate to their needs. If you have tenants who have literacy problems or do not speak English, you will need to make alternative arrangements to ensure that they have understood what you are trying to communicate.

Addressing problems in a tenancy

In cases where a tenant is causing a problem, either by not paying rent or causing a nuisance to neighbours or other tenants, you should communicate with that tenant reasonably and quickly. When a problem arises, you need to address it. In these circumstances, it's best to send written correspondence to the tenant so you have a record of what you have discussed. In your letter, explain:

  • what the issue is
  • what action the tenant needs to take to resolve the issue
  • what, if any, action you intend to take
  • when you expect a response or reply from the tenant.

Be clear about what you feel the tenant needs to do to resolve any issues and give the tenant a reasonable timeframe in which these actions should be carried out.

If the tenant's behaviour constitutes a serious breach of contract, check that your tenancy agreement allows you to terminate the lease in these circumstances. If it does, you must first send the tenant Notice to Quit in writing, before you can start eviction proceedings.