Tenants should have a range of payment options

Propertymark members have backed proposals to ensure tenants in Northern Ireland are given a range of ways to make rent and other related payments. The Department for Communities has been consulting on provisions in Section 12 of the Private Tenancies Act (Northern Ireland) 2022, which would allow them to enforce regulation on the methods of payment that should be offered.

Money lightbulb.jpg

Member voices provide key evidence

The aim of the consultation was to gather an evidence base to see if tenants are being forced to pay in cash, if paying in cash is problematic for them, and how widespread cash payments are. Our members were quick to point out that most agents would not ask for payments to be made in cash, citingthe main reason that online payments provide clear audit trail which makes it easier for an agent to adhere to anti-money laundering regulations and helps in resolving payment disputes. Furthermore, holding cash presents risks to the agent while increasing administration time to transfer payments to the right account.

Encourage a move away from cash

Propertymark does not believe the evidence suggests a widespread issue, but we still support the introduction of the regulations to give additional choice and protections to tenants.

The Department should also produce guidance that would encourage landlords and agents not to accept cash in most circumstances. This would help reduce the number of landlords insisting that tenants pay with cash, which member feedback suggested as the only reason why an agent may accept cash rather than an alternative payment method.

Our discussions with member agents in Northern Ireland made it clear that moving away from cash payments offers more security for tenants, agents and landlords. There can be a clear audit trail of funds which can determine where the money is coming from and help resolve any disputes. While we understand that there may be some instances where cash could be necessary, a decision by the Department for Communities to encourage agents to not allow cash payments would ultimately benefit all those involved in renting.
Henry Griffith.jpg
Henry Griffith Policy and Campaigns Officer | Propertymark
Download the full consultation response