Tourist accommodation certification

Get your tourist accommodation certified

Guide

You must be certified by Tourism NI if you provide  tourist accommodation. The law requires you to have a valid Tourism NI certificate to run your tourism accommodation business legally. If you don't have the certificate, you risk getting fined up to £2,500, imprisoned for up to 6 months, or both.

Before applying for a certificate

To become a certified tourist accommodation provider, you will need to consider other legal requirements such as planning permissions, fire compliance and registering your private water supply.

You can learn more about these in our guides:

Applying for certification

You can apply for certification online. You will need to send a relevant inspection fee, as well as any other documentation required along with your application.

Inspection visit

When Tourism NI receives your application, you will be appointed a Quality & Standards (Q&S) Officer. The officer will carry out an inspection of your premises. You will get a letter advising you of this, and a phone call from the Q&S Officer letting you know the date of your inspection.

After the inspection, Tourism NI will either approve or refuse the issue of a certificate. In some cases, they may give conditions to the certificate, such as additional work to be carried out to the property. You will be given a set time to carry out this work.

If your property doesn't meet the criteria for the accommodation category you are applying for, your application will be refused. You will be served a notice detailing the reasons for refusal. If you don't agree with Tourism NI's decision to refuse to issue a certificate, you can appeal - see appealing your tourist accommodation inspection outcome.

It generally takes between 4-8 weeks from when you apply to obtain the notification or refusal of a certificate.  The length of time will depend on your availability and the inspectors' existing schedules.

Conditions of your certification

If your premises meets the minimum requirement standards, your premises will become a certified tourist establishment and you may begin trading.

You must display your certificate in your premises in a visible place around the entrance. You must comply with any conditions attached to a certificate, including informing Tourism NI if the owner changes and maintaining a visitor register. See keeping a guest register.

To maintain your certification, you will also need to allow Tourism NI to carry out statutory inspection of your premises at least once every four years. Occasionally there will also be ad hoc inspections. See statutory inspections of certified tourist accommodation.