Department for Communities has issued a reminder to private landlords that new laws governing private tenancies in Northern Ireland came into effect on 1 April.
The Private Tenancies (Northern Ireland) 2022 Act affects both landlords and tenants within the private rented sector, but the onus is firmly on landlords to adhere to the legislation.
A spokesperson for Department for Communities said:
“The new Private Tenancies Act came into effect on Saturday (1 April) and it is vital that private landlords are fully aware of the changes and adhere to their new responsibilities moving forward.
“If a private landlord is in any doubt about those responsibilities, they should consult and familiarise themselves with the new laws on the Department for Communities website.
“While tenants are not required to take any action, we would ask that they also familiarise themselves with the new rules.”
The new legislation requires that private landlords take the following actions from 1st April 2023:
Landlords must provide tenants with a notice containing tenancy information. This includes for current tenants who have not already received this type of tenancy information.
Landlords must also provide tenants with a notice of variation when any changes are made to their tenancies.
Landlords must provide receipts for any cash payment in relation to a tenancy.
Landlords are only permitted to take or hold on to a tenancy deposit of no more than one month’s rent unless the agreement to do so was made before 1 April.
There will be increased time periods for protecting and providing information on tenancy deposits.
Failure to protect a tenancy deposit will become a continuing offence, as the previous six-month time barrier to prosecution of tenancy deposit offence has been removed.
All private landlords who let a property under a private tenancy should also be registered under the Landlord Registration Scheme: Landlord Registration Scheme | nidirect
Tenants are not required to take any action but are advised to be aware of how the new law will affect them and their tenancies.
Detailed information on the Private Tenancies Act is available at: The Private Tenancies Act (Northern Ireland) 2022 - A Guide to Sections 1-6 for Tenants and Landlords | Department for Communities (communities-ni.gov.uk)
If you are a tenant and struggling with finances, a range of information is available on income support, housing and other areas, through the NI Direct website.