Up to 5,000 landlords are reported to be receiving licensing fee refunds as a result of legal advice given to the Northern Ireland government.
The change to the region’s Landlord Registration Scheme, announced by the Northern Ireland Executive’s Social Development minister, means that only one registration fee now needs to be paid in the case where there are joint owners of a property. Previously all owners needed to pay a fee.
However, all names of the joint owners must still be provided to the Landlord Registration Scheme.
“It was clear the issue of multiple registration fees for joint owners was a concern amongst landlords when the Landlord Registration Scheme was launched; my Department responded, and today I am announcing that not only will the policy change, but that we will soon be starting the process of issuing refunds” the minister says.
The process to identify refunds will begin immediately and should be made by March.
Out of a total of over 44,000 landlords who have already registered with the scheme, approximately 8,500 have registered as joint owner landlord. It is anticipated that around 5,000 refunds will be paid as there is still a requirement that one registration fee remains payable for registration.
Joint owners will have to agree who should receive a refund within their joint owner group.
Some owners will be contacted by mobile, some by landline and others by letter.