It is the Council’s objective to help improve housing and general living conditions throughout the City and District. Our officers deal with complaints and enquiries about a range of housing issues.
We do not deal with the allocation of social housing – this is the role of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. Their local Office is located at Dobbin Street, Armagh and they can be contacted on 08448 920 900.
Our responsibilities include:
- providing advice about rent books and tenancy statements to private tenants
- inspecting properties to make sure they are suitable to live in
- issuing certificate of fitness (where applicable)
- investigating complaints such as smell, littering and general nuisances
Providing advice about:
- damp / condensation
- disrepair in rented houses
- Harassment and Unlawful Eviction
- carbon monoxide
- water quality including swimming pools
We can also take legal action against landlords if the condition of their property creates an unhealthy environment for tenants. This covers privately-rented properties and those owned by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive or other housing associations.
Harrassment & Unlawful Eviction
Under the Rent Order (Northern Ireland) Act 1978, a private tenant can only be forced to leave their home if a court of law has issued a court order.
Harassment and unlawful eviction are criminal offences under the Act.
Our public health and housing team can:
- provide advice to landlords and tenants
- investigate complaints of harassment and unlawful eviction
- prosecute landlords who have harassed or illegally evicted their tenants.
Harassment covers any action taken by a landlord, or someone acting on their behalf, to make a tenant leave their home.
- interfering with gas, water and electricity supplies
- making threats and instructing a tenant to leave
- entering the property without consent
- refusing to carry out repairs
- making frequent unannounced visits, especially late at night.
Tenants should record the details of any harassment including the date, time and a short description of the incident.
This occurs when a landlord, or any person acting for them, forces or attempts to force a tenant from their home without following the proper legal procedures.
- changing the locks to a property when a tenant is not at home
- physically throwing a tenant out
- stopping a tenant from getting into part or all of their home.
If a landlord wants a tenant to leave, they must provide a ‘notice to quit’, even if there is no tenancy agreement.
The following time scales for notices to quit apply regardless of what the tenancy agreement states:
- If the tenancy was in existence for less than 5 years you must receive four weeks notice to quit.
- If the tenancy was in existence for more than 5 years but less than 10 years you must receive 8 weeks notice to quit.
- If the tenancy was in existence for more than 10 years you must receive 12 weeks notice to quit.
- It should be in writing and both the landlord and tenant should keep a copy.
If the tenant does not leave after the notice has run out, the landlord can apply for a court order from a magistrates’ court.
However, it is an offence to evict a tenant without getting a court order, even if the notice to quit has expired.
Landlords do not need a court order to evict licensees, who share part or all of a property (usually with the landlord). Licensees are only entitled to ‘reasonable’ notice before they must leave the property.
If you are a landlord and you ask us to serve a Public Health Notice on your house, one of our Environmental Health Officers will inspect your premises.
If we are satisfied that a statutory nuisance exists, we will serve an Abatement Notice on you, telling you to put the problem right.
It is not the disrepair (bad condition) which creates a statutory (legal) nuisance but whether or not the disrepair is causing conditions that are bad for health.
You should finish the work needed to put the nuisance right within the time stated on the notice.
If you do not satisfactorily finish the work, we will apply for an order from the local magistrates’ court. We must do this by law and have no choice in this matter. The court has the power to make an order and also give you a penalty.
Northern Ireland Housing Executive Grants
You may be eligible for a grant if you need to pay for repairs to your property.
The Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) Repair Scheme Grant is organised by the the NIHE and is paid to the owner or agent of a property.
For more information about the Repair Grant Scheme, visit the Northern Ireland Housing Executive website or call 03448 920 900.
If you live in a privately rented house, you are entitled to a rent book.
If your tenancy started before April 2007, your rent book must contain the items laid out in the document below.
If your tenancy started after April 2007, your rent book must contain the items laid out in the document below.
If your tenancy started after April 2007, you are also entitled to a tenancy statement.
This must contain the information outlined in the Tenancy Terms Regulations ( Northern Ireland) 2007.
If your landlord does not provide you with a tenancy statement within 28 days of your tenancy beginning, this means a six month tenancy has been created and they must meet their default repairing obligations.
These repair obligations are outlined in the Private Tenancy ( Northern Ireland) Order 2006.
Department for Social Development NI Newsletter Bulletin aimed at Private Landlords/Agents
Private Tenancies – Advice for Tenants Leaflet
For more information about your rights as a private tenant, visit the Housing Advice NI website.