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If you want to rent out a property you may have to apply to your district council for a certificate of fitness.

You don’t need to apply for a certificate of fitness if:

  • the tenancy began before 1 April 2007
  • a renovation or houses in multiple occupation (HMO) grant has been paid by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) (this only applies for 10 years from the date of the grant)
  • the property is registered with NIHE as an HMO
  • the property was formerly let under a protected or statutory tenancy where a regulated rent certificate has been issued (this only applies for 10 years from the date the certificate is issued)

If none of these exemptions apply you should contact your district council for an application form or visit their website to apply online.


You must:

  • provide certain information about your property, including when it was built, number of rooms and the facilities provided
  • pay an application fee (set by district councils and may vary)

Your property will be inspected by the council to ensure it is fit to live in. They will check for issues like structural soundness, the state of repair, dampness and access to clean water.

If the property is fit for human habitation you will be issued with a certificate of fitness.

Unless the tenancy is a protected or statutory tenancy, you will then be free to charge your tenants a market rent.

Fines and penalties

You may be fined up to £2,500 if you fail to apply for the inspection of a qualifying property within 28 days of a new tenancy being granted.