Law guide: Landlords

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Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland

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A tenancy agreement must state the amount of rent to be paid. You can increase the rent during the tenancy only if the tenancy agreement has a rent review clause or the tenant agrees to a rent increase. For fixed-term tenancies, as a rent increase is classed as a change to the terms of the tenancy, once this is agreed with the tenant, the landlord must notify the tenant of the changes in writing at least 28 days before they are due to take place. For periodic tenancies, the terms can be changed at the end of any rental period.

Where the tenancy is controlled, the landlord can only increase the rent by applying to the Rent Officer.

For more information on the Rent Officer for Northern Ireland, visit the NI Direct website.

How to give notice of a rent increase

If you agree a rent increase with the tenant, you should confirm it in writing (and change to the statement of tenancy terms) at least 28 days before the new rent is due to take effect.

There is no prescribed form this notice should take. Send a letter to the tenant(s) confirming what was agreed.

Your letter should be dated and signed and a copy held for your own records.

Periodic tenancies

A periodic tenancy runs from one rental period to the next; you can increase the rent at the end of any rental period.

If you agree a rent increase with the tenant, you must give written notice of the increase (and change to the statement of tenancy terms) at the end of any rental period.

Rent-controlled tenancies

If the local council has refused to issue a certificate of fitness for the property, the tenancy becomes a rent-controlled tenancy; this means the rent is fixed at a certain amount and you can't charge a higher amount – see Housing standards.

You can appeal to the count court against a refusal to make a certificate of fitness and to a rent assessment committee if you want to increase the rent of a rent-controlled tenancy.

For more about the Rent Officer for Northern Ireland see nidirect.

Change to tenancy terms (statutory periodic tenancies)

A statutory periodic tenancy is created when a fixed-term tenancy ends and the tenant stays in possession of the property without a new tenancy agreement. The statutory periodic tenancy usually continues on the same terms as the previous tenancy (but is not fixed term).

Once a tenancy has become a statutory periodic tenancy, you and the tenant are free to agree to new terms (including a rent increase).

If new terms are agreed, you must:

  • Agree changes to the statement of tenancy terms with the tenant
  • Confirm the agreed changes to the statement of tenancy terms in writing
  • Give the tenant at least 28 days' written notice before any change to tenancy terms takes effect (including a rent increase)