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Housing Rights for Young People prevents young mum from becoming homeless

Hannah, a young single mum was at risk of becoming homeless. Our Housing Rights for Young People service helped Hannah keep her home.

11 January 2024
  • Homelessness

Hannah, a young single mum, had rented from a private landlord for a few years. She moved out of her flat, where she lived with her daughter, as she was struggling to afford the rent.

They moved in with a good friend who was a social tenant, renting from the Housing Executive. Her friend agreed that they could stay there as long as they needed. However, a short time after they moved in, Hannah’s friend sadly passed away.   

According to the law in Northern Ireland, a person can inherit or succeed to a social tenancy if they are the tenant’s family and have been living there for at least a year. But this didn’t apply to Hannah, so the social landlord couldn’t keep her as a tenant.

But things got worse.  When she approached the Housing Executive for help, they told her they believed she ‘intentionally’ made herself homeless by moving out of her flat. This meant she wasn’t entitled to temporary accommodation.

With no other family or friends to help, not only would Hannah have to move out of her friend’s home but she was also facing living on the street with her daughter.

A caseworker from Housing Rights’ specialist service for young people took on Hannah’s case. They worked on her behalf and challenged the Housing Executive’s decision.

The caseworker provided evidence that the only reason Hannah left her flat was because she could not afford the rent. They argued that, under homelessness law in Northern Ireland, Hannah was not intentionally homeless.

After several weeks advocating for Hannah, the Housing Executive reversed its decision. They awarded her ‘full duty applicant status’, meaning that they recognised she was homeless through no fault of her own and they had a legal duty to help her.

This new decision meant Hannah and her daughter could move into temporary housing. Hannah is now awaiting an offer of a permanent home and she and her daughter are no longer at risk of homelessness.  

Our advisers can help if you or someone you work with is homeless, at risk of becoming homeless, or has a housing problem.