TwitterFacebook

 
When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Taking on a new tenancy

Once you've found somewhere you'd like to live and have agreed the terms with your landlord or agent you'll want to make plans to move in. If you've told the landlord or agent that you are moving in on condition that they carry out certain repairs or decorative work, make sure you get a commitment to do this in writing.

There are a few important pieces of paperwork that you'll need to keep safe once you become a tenant. You will usually be asked to sign a tenancy agreement, but this is not always the case. If you do sign a tenancy agreement, make sure you get a signed copy.

Landlords are entitled to ask tenants to provide a guarantor.  If you are asked to be someone's guarantor, it's really important that you fully understand what this means and what you are responsible for. 

Legally, your landlord or the agent must give you a rent book. There is certain information which must be contained in this document, including your basic rights and obligations. If you don't get a rent book, you can complain to your local council.

Moving house is a stressful experience. Being well organised can help to minimise the difficulties you may encounter.

You'll usually have to pay out quite a bit of money when you first move in. Most landlords will expect a month's rent as a security deposit and insist on rent being paid in advance. If you're on a low income, you may be entitled to housing benefit to help you meet the cost of your rent, but this is always paid in arrears. Make sure you get receipts for any money you pay out and keep these safe.

Any deposit paid on or after 1 April 2013 must be protected in one of the 3 authorised Tenancy Deposit Schemes approved by the Department for Communities. Your landlord or agent must provide you with information on the deposit scheme he or she is using and a list of other prescribed information within 28 days of you handing the money over.

It can be difficult to gather up a deposit as well as a month's rent in advance. There are a few places that may agree to provide your landlord with a guarantee or work out a payment plan, allowing you to pay off your deposit in installments.

Landlords usually ask tenants to pay rent at the start of the month. This means that you may have to pay a month's rent in advance as well as a deposit before you move in to your accommodation. You may be able to get help to cover this rent in advance.