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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Preparing your property for renting

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. 

As with any new business, there are a number of practical and legal considerations that you must address before you can let your property.

There are some essential documents that you must legally have in order to rent out a property. These include a Fitness Certificate (in some cases), Energy Performance Certificate and a Gas Safety Certificate if there is gas heating or there are any gas appliances in the property.

Properties which can be classed as HMOs must be registered and must meet certain additional standards. Landlords of HMOs which are unregistered or do not meet these standards can be prosecuted and could end up subject to a hefty fine.

Many landlords prefer to install meters in rented properties, meaning that utilities such as electricity and gas must be pre paid. If your property is a HMO, you may not legally be allowed to install a prepay electricity meter. It's worth considering cabling your property for utilities such as broadband to make your property more attractive.

An unfurnished property will often attract a different type of tenant to a furnished property. Whether your rental property is furnished or unfurnished will also have an impact on your tax obligations.

You'll need to establish a level of rent that is both attractive to tenants and covers your own expenditure on the property. When setting rents you should be realistic and remember that letting a property at a slightly reduced rent is more favourable than it sitting vacant on the market.

Once your property is up to standard and you've decided on a fair rent to charge you should advertise it as available to let. There are a number of ways you can do this.

When a rental property is contained in an apartment block or housing development, either the tenant or the landlord may be expected to pay an annual service charge. This charge will usually cover maintenance and repair work in communal areas.