Mandatory Landlord Registration comes into effect on 25th February in Northern Ireland.
- It is the duty of the landlord to ensure that they are correctly registered, and that the details submitted for them are accurate.
- Under Regulation 4, a landlord (and agent if applicable) must register immediately prior* to the letting of a new tenancy, or where there is an existing tenancy, within 12 months from the commencement of the scheme – ie 25 February 2014.
- Failure to register can lead to a fixed penalty fine of up to £500, or up to £2,500 if the matter proceeds to Court. The local Councils are tasked with enforcing this.
- An online application is £70, and for a paper application is £80. This is irrespective of the number of properties being registered.
- Confirmation of registration should be received by the landlord / agent within 24 hoursRegistration lasts for 3 years. Once that period expires, the landlord will have to renew their registration.
- The www is: http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/landlord-registration-scheme
* There is no guidance on what “immediately prior” means. In our solicitor’s view, this obligation would be discharged so long as you have registered before an actual tenancy commences (ie before your new tenant enters into occupation of the property), and not before the property is marketed for let.
According to DSD, the registration requires:
- Landlord’s full name
- Full contact details of any agent acting for the landlord (The above information will appear on the public register.)
- The following information must also be given in all cases:
- Details of every property that is let or is to be let,
- including full address,
- the date the house was built,
- and the details of any joint owners.
- There is a myriad of optional information that can be given, if the landlord / agent so chooses.
- The landlord’s address and full contact details
- A correspondence address in Northern Ireland for the landlord if different to the above
- The landlord’s date of birth
- Any HMO details if the landlord is seeking an exemption from fees
- If the landlord is a company, the company registration number.
- The Registrar is in charge of the information and may disclose it, on request, to:
- a district council to enable or assist it to carry out its legal duties
- the Department of Finance and Personnel Northern Ireland to help it to carry out its legal duties for rating purposes
- the Northern Ireland Housing Executive for the purposes of administering housing benefit and the regulation of Houses in Multiple Occupation
- if another body wishes to obtain this information, they would potentially need a Court Order to do so.
There has been a major concern that the public register will be searchable index of properties and landlords, to allow any given landlord to be associated with a particular property, and vice versa. In our solicitor’s opinion, there is nothing in the legislation which allows this or even anticipates this. If a member of the public enters a landlord’s name, they will simply be informed whether the landlord is registered or not.
If you have any questions regarding this, please do not hesitate to contact the office on
028 91 477 999.