Last year I introduced a new Landlord Registration Scheme in Northern Ireland. It was launched in February and by the end of the years all landlords are required to be registered. This is one of a number of initiatives to improve the private rental sector and it follows on from the tenancy deposit scheme.
Until the introduction of this scheme each council collected information about landlords in their council area, but many private landlords have properties in a number of different council areas and the information was not easily accessible.
A centrally held register of private landlords will:
- allow tenants, neighbours and local councils to identify if landlords are registered
- provide information on the number of landlords in Northern Ireland and allow landlords to receive regular updates on the duties and responsibilities of landlords and tenants
- provide education and support to landlords
It will improve tenants’ confidence in their landlords and increase landlords’ accountability by:
- promoting good practice
- ensuring appropriate advice and assistance is available
So far 4,446 landlords have registered and while there are many more still to register this figure is sufficient to provide some sense of the nature of the rental market. Around 95% of the landlords live in Northern Ireland with only 132 having an address in Great Britain and another 81 being outside the UK, probably in the Irish Republic. I have sometimes heard it said that a lot of landlords were from the Republic but the figures show that not to be the case. The percentage of landlords from outside the UK is less that 2% and that includes not only the Republic but anywhere outside the UK.
We are still at an early stage of the scheme but by the end of the year all landlords will have to be registered and we can then get a more accurate understanding of the rental market.