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Explanatory Memorandum to Private Tenancies (Northern Ireland) Order 2006

Part Iii Unfitness and Disrepair

This Part provides powers similar to those held by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive in relation to requiring the owner of an unfit house to carry out work to make it fit for human habitation.  The definition of ‘owner’ includes the person receiving or entitled to receive the rent.  Remedies are also provided to tackle serious disrepair falling short of unfitness.

Articles 15, 16 and 17 define the terms used in this Part and indicate that it applies to any dwelling-house let under a private tenancy.  The standard of fitness used is to be found in Article 46 of the Housing (Northern Ireland) Order 1981.

Article 18 empowers the appropriate district council to serve a notice of unfitness where it is satisfied that a dwelling-house is unfit for human habitation and that serving a notice of unfitness is the most satisfactory course of action.  Article 19 permits a district council to serve a notice of disrepair where a dwelling-house is not unfit but is in need of substantial repairs.

Articles 20 and 21 require district councils to act in accordance with any guidance issued by the Department and to consult with the Housing Executive before issuing a notice of unfitness.  Article 22provides for appeals to be made to the county court against notices of unfitness and notices of disrepair.  Article 23 defines the operative date in relation to such notices.

Articles 24 to 26 create an offence of failing to comply with a notice of unfitness or notice of disrepair and stipulate the powers available to district councils in relation to enforcement and the right to make a charge for enforcement action.  Articles 27 and 28provide district councils with powers of entry and make it an offence to obstruct council officials in the performance of their functions.  Article 29amends Article 74 of the Housing (Northern Ireland) Order 1992 in relation to the payment of repairs grants.  A mandatory repairs grant will only be payable where a notice of disrepair is served in relation to a dwelling-house let under a protected or statutory tenancy.

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