There are a few things students should be aware of when renting a property at university.
Today, the Department for Communities is reminded students of the laws in place to protect them as they seek accommodation ahead of the new academic year.
Most private landlords comply with the law but it is important for tenants to be aware of their rights and responsibilities.
The Landlord Registration and Tenancy Deposit Schemes were introduced to improve the private rented sector by improving tenants’ confidence in their landlord and increasing landlords’ accountability.
All private landlords letting residential property in Northern Ireland must be registered with the Landlord Registration Scheme.
A landlord who does not register may face a fixed penalty of £500 or a court fine of up to £2,500.
Landlords are also required to protect tenants’ deposits, received after 1 April 2013, in an approved tenancy deposit scheme.
They must also, within 28 days of receiving the deposit, notify the tenant of how the deposit has been protected.
If after 28 days of handing over your deposit you have not received information about how it has been protected you should report this immediately to your council environmental health department.
A landlord who does not protect a tenant’s deposit may face a fixed penalty of three times the amount of the deposit or a court fine of up to £20,000.
You can check if your landlord is registered by visiting www.nidirect.gov.uk/landlord-
Additional information for tenants and landlords, including information on shared accommodation, dealing with repairs and resolving disputes can be found at: www.nidirect.gov.uk/private-
Students and all those who privately rent should familiarise themselves with the information available to them about the private rented sector to ensure their interests are being protected.