Domestic rental property: landlord and tenant responsibilities

Landlords’ responsibilities


The law on private renting in Northern Ireland changed on 1 April 2023. For further details read the Private Tenancies Act (Northern Ireland) 2022.

As a landlord, there are some rules you must follow and certain obligations you have to your tenants.

Requirements for smoke, heat and carbon monoxide alarms

New regulations were introduced on Thursday 30 May 2024 to set a minimum standard for smoke, heat and carbon monoxide alarms in private rental properties. 

Landlords' responsibilities for alarm units

It is the responsibility of the landlord to:

  • install and keep in proper working order sufficient alarms for detecting smoke, heat and carbon monoxide within any property that they rent out to tenants
  • repair or replace any alarm that they have been informed of that is faulty
  • ensure that any alarm units (smoke, heat & carbon monoxide) that are bought/installed are marked/referenced as being British Standard compliant
  • ensure that if any alarms are to be hardwired into the main electrical installation, that work is undertaken by a qualified electrician
  • confirm the tenant is satisfied all alarms are in working order on the commencement of any tenancy
  • advise tenants that they need to regularly test the alarms according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and to report any faults to the landlord

Read full details on landlords' responsibilities for alarm units in private rental properties.

Compliance dates

Existing tenancies granted before Sunday 1 September 2024 must comply by Sunday 1 December 2024. New tenancies granted on or after Sunday 1 September 2024 must be compliant on the date the new tenancy is granted.

Read guidance notes on the Smoke, Heat and Carbon Monoxide Alarms for Private Tenancies Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2024.

Repairs in rental properties

In the day-to-day maintenance of the property, you are responsible for any repairs to the structure of the property and any furnishings or equipment supplied with the property. The tenant is responsible for any repairs to their belongings or damage that is their fault.

Records landlords must keep

You are obliged to keep the following records:

  • a gas safety certificate, for any gas appliances on the property
  • an Energy Performance Certificate
  • information on the tenancy deposit protection scheme you've chosen to protect the tenant's deposit and some prescribed information relating to the deposit
  • an inventory

You are advised to keep the following records:

  • a copy of the Tenancy Information Notice supplied to your tenant(s)
  • copies of any receipts for cash payments made by your tenant(s)

Communication with tenants

If you are planning any action that will impact your tenants, you should inform them in a timely manner. Let your tenants know in advance of any of the following:

  • repairs and improvements to the property
  • sale of the property/the property being repossessed
  • you or anyone else entering the property (normally you will need the tenant's permission)

It is important that your tenants are able to contact you when a problem arises and that you respond within a reasonable time. Even if your property is managed by an agent, you still must give your name, a correspondence address, and telephone to the tenant in the Tenancy Information Notice.

Deposits for private rental properties

If you take a tenancy deposit for a private tenancy on or after 1 April 2013 you are legally obliged to protect this deposit in an approved scheme. If the deposit was taken before 1 April 2013 it does not need to be placed in a protection scheme, but you should keep it in a separate account, have clear records about when you received the deposit, and give your tenants a receipt. Read more about the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.

From 1 April 2023, you cannot ask for or retain a tenancy deposit of more than one month's rent. See further information on changes to tenancy deposits.