Northern Irish landlords face tougher regulation
The Northern Ireland Assembly has given the nod to two new measures aimed at driving up standards in the country’s burgeoning private rented sector.
The measures will see the introduction of a tough new licensing regime for private landlords and a tenancy deposit scheme. Draft rules on the two schemes were approved by the assembly’s executive business committee last week.
The licensing rules will allow councils to establish a register of private landlords operating in their area. The tenancy deposit regulations will allow the Department for Social Development to set up a scheme aimed at preventing landlords from ripping off tenants by failing to return their deposits. Similar regimes are already up and running in England and Scotland.
Jennifer Donald, head of policy and public affairs at the Chartered Institute of Housing Northern Ireland, said she welcomed the new regulations. ‘Any move to improve regulation in this area is welcome,’ she said. ‘The private rented sector has grown really rapidly here. It is now bigger than the social rented sector by 2 to 3 per cent. These regulations are important, primarily to help us get a better sense of the private rented sector.’