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14/09/2021

NI Bill To Protect Private Tenants Moves Forward

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A Bill aimed at introducing improved protection for those in the private housing sector has reached the second stage in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

First introduced by Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey in July, the Private Tenancies Bill contains a number of proposed improvements, including restricting rent increases to once in a 12 month period and setting limits on tenancy deposit amounts. Also outlined in the Bill is plans to extend the notice to quit period a landlord must give a tenant, as well as making it a mandatory requirement for private landlords to provide smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and to carry out periodic electrical checks.

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Speaking as the Bill moves to the second stage, Minister Hargey said: "This Bill will ensure that those renting privately have access to good quality housing with peace of mind over the safety and security of their home. As I said when I introduced the Bill, this is just the beginning of my reform of the housing system. In the longer term I will address issues such as letting agent regulation, grounds for eviction and fitness standards.

"As the sector is increasing in size, and houses a wide variety of people, it is important to make improvements and future proof it to ensure greater protection for private renters.

"This Bill will make the private rented sector a safer and more secure housing option for people living in it by improving the standards and conditions."

The Minister concluded: "I also want to acknowledge that many landlords provide an important source of housing and played an important role in supporting tenants during the pandemic."

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