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When everyone has a home

Housing and debt helpline for Northern Ireland – 028 9024 5640

Media

Housing Rights works to achieve positive change by promoting and protecting the rights of people in housing need.  We work to make sure that the voices of the people we help are heard and their problems are reported. 

We are happy to provide spokespersons who can comment on a range of housing issues such as:

  • Welfare reform and housing
  • Finding accommodation
  • Homelessness
  • Repossession
  • Rights when renting privately
  • Housing conditions

If you would like information, comment, or would like to speak to one of our spokespeople email us at pressofficer@housingrights.org.uk  or telephone 02890 245640.

Press releases

Below you'll find some of our recent press releases explaining the difficulties people in Northern Ireland face when trying to find or keep a suitable home.

A benefit that helps homeowners to pay the interest on their mortgage changes to a loan today.  Local charity Housing Rights is urging households who may be affected to get advice.  The charity’s helpline is already dealing with calls from homeowners who get the benefit, called Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI), who are unsure what the changes will mean for them.

Local charity Housing Rights is urging homeowners who get help to pay their mortgage interest to seek advice, as the benefit will change to a loan this April. The charity’s helpline is already dealing with calls from homeowners who receive this benefit, called Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI), who are unsure what the changes will mean for them.

Recent figures reveal[1] that out of the 124,000 households receiving this benefit across the UK, just 6,850 have signed up to the new loan scheme.

Local charity Housing Rights is urging homeowners with interest only mortgages who do not have a repayment plan in place to contact them for free advice.

The call comes on the back of concerns expressed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) that a significant number of interest only customers may not be able to repay the capital at the end of their mortgage.  According to the FCA nearly one in five mortgage customers have an interest only mortgage. 

Ursula Toner, Advice Services Manager with Housing Rights, commented:

Local charity Housing Rights is urging people who are worried about paying their mortgage or rent after Christmas to contact them for free advice.

Ursula Toner Advice Services Manager with Housing Rights commented: “We know that many people in Northern Ireland are struggling with debt and will often put off dealing with it until after Christmas.   We want to let them know that free advice and assistance is available and the earlier they seek help the more options are available.”

Local charity Housing Rights has welcomed the publication of a Northern Ireland Audit Office report on homelessness in Northern Ireland.  The report examines the scale and nature of homelessness locally.

With 1 in 5 local people renting their homes from private landlords’ local charity Housing Rights is calling for political leadership to help improve the sector. A one day conference being held in Belfast today will look at how the sector could work better for the increasing numbers of people living in it.

Janet Hunter, Director with Housing Rights commented;

Local charity Housing Rights is urging older people who get help paying the interest on their mortgage (Support for Mortgage Interest SMI)  to seek advice as they receive notification of the benefit changing to a loan. 

The Department for Communities will be sending out letters notifying older people about the change this weekend.  Claimants will also be contacted by phone in the coming weeks in advance of the benefit ending.

Ursula Toner, Advice Services Manager with Housing Rights said:

Local charity Housing Rights has welcomed a recent ruling from the High Court that declared the benefit cap was “unlawful” and causes “real misery for no good purpose” to lone parents.

The ruling was made in response to a judicial review brought by four lone parent families who argued the benefit cap would have a disproportionate impact on them, as they were unable to work more than 16 hours a week.

Cuts in the help provided to homeowners struggling with their mortgage payments come into place later this week. Local charity Housing Rights is concerned this could put homes at risk and is urging anyone who may be affected to get in touch.

Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) is a means-tested benefit for those in receipt of certain income related benefits who are unable to pay their mortgage.  From 18 June 2017, the interest rate used to calculate how much help homeowners get falls from 3.12% to 2.61%. 

A free telephone advice service for private landlords has been launched.    “Landlord Advice” is being piloted by local charity Housing Rights on behalf of the Department for Communities (DFC).  The service is free, and will help landlords comply with their legal requirements and promote good practice by offering free confidential advice and information.

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