Dear Barry

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In this digital age, the idea of a rent book may seem like a quaint, analogue way to keep records - but it is a legal requirement.

The Private Tenancies (Northern Ireland) Order 2006 states in article 5:

"The landlord of a dwelling-house let under a private tenancy shall, within 28 days after the date on which the tenancy is granted, provide the tenant with a rent book for use in respect of the dwelling-house.

(2) A rent book–

(a)shall be used to maintain a written record of rent and other payments made in respect of a tenancy, and

(b)shall contain such particulars and information relating to the tenancy as may be prescribed.

(3) A tenant shall not be required to make a payment in respect of the provision of a rent book.

So what information does a good rent book contain?

You'd be mistaken for thinking a little notebook with rent amounts scribbled in once a month will cut the mustard.

It's good practice to make sure each tenancy has a rent book which records:

  • The rental property address
  • The full name of each tenant
  • Your name, address and telephone number
  • The details of your letting agent if you use one
  • The capital value of the rental property
  • The rent payable and the time period it covers (e.g. £800 per month / £200 per week, etc)
  • Rates payable on the property
  • Any rates payable by the tenant
  • Any other payments made by the tenant in respect of the property (do they pay you for heating, or any other bills or services?)
  • The date the tenancy began

What information do you need to capture in the rent book?

For each rental period liable (usually a calendar month, but you may be on weekly terms, particularly if your tenant is in receipt of housing benefit) you should make a note of the following:

  • The date the rental payment is due
  • How much money is to be paid on that date
  • Payment date and how much was paid to you
  • A running total of rent paid to date during this tenancy
  • Initials, full name or a signature to record who collected the money

A rent book can be a printed document, or a hand-ruled notebook - as long as you provide this to the tenant within 28 days of the tenancy commencing and record the necessary information clearly.

Here are some links to downloadable templates for rent books:

Dept for Communities template

NIHE template

As next month is the last Quarterly Market Report of 2018, this is the last Industry Information article of the year! I'm excited to say that I have got some ambitious plans for a very useful themed series of Industry Info articles next year which I think will be incredibly useful. Watch this space...

As ever though, I want to hear from you - what would you like to see in this series next year? What articles do you love? Is there anything you don't love so much, or anything you would like to see or read about on this blog?

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