EXCLUSIVE: NI Landlords Voice Major Concerns Over Renting Reforms

Landlords in Northern Ireland fear new legislation to give private renters greater protection could herald further sweeping changes that force more to quit the sector.

Sections 1-6 of the Private Tenancies Act (Northern Ireland) 2022 take effect on 1st April when landlords can no longer ask for a tenancy deposit of more than one month’s rent, while the time they have to protect a deposit increases from 14 to 28 days.

There is also a requirement for landlords to provide both new and current tenants with a notice containing tenancy information and to give them a notice of variation when any changes are made to their tenancies.

However, the Landlords Association for Northern Ireland (LANI) says there is more potentially worrying legislation waiting in the wings, namely Section 7 of the Act which would restrict the frequency of rent increases to once every 12 months, along with stringent rent control measures. Although they have been outlined, regulations must be made for these new measures to begin.

Extra paperwork “Extra paperwork and increasing burdens on landlords may already be sufficient for quite a number to exit the market,” a spokesman tells LandlordZONE.

“There are also reserve powers within this new legislation that allow the government to demand that landlords reduce rents by 10% or to freeze rents for up to four years. Other provisions include the requirement to get private rented properties up to an EPC band C.”

HMO landlords in Belfast also face the additional burden of having to be available 24-7 to help officials if problems arise – or face a £2,500 fine.

“Rents have gone up by 10-15% in the last year due to excessive legislation,” adds the spokesman. “Any more could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.”

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