The hidden costs of renting private accommodation in Northern Ireland have been revealed in an undercover survey carried out by Housing Rights Service. A ‘mystery shopping’ survey of 40 lettings agents across Northern Ireland found that upfront fees of as much as £100 were demanded by some agents to cover routine services such as credit checks and general administration costs. This was on top of a deposit (normally one month’s rent) and a month’s rent in advance.
The consultation paper seeks views on proposed changes to clarify the rules covering landlord liability for rates. It is argued the current rules are complicated to administer and difficult for landlords (owners) and tenants (occupiers) to fully understand who is legally liable for rates on rented property.