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When everyone has a home

Housing and debt helpline for Northern Ireland – 028 9024 5640

Etain Ní Fhearghail

Image of housing benefit application form and electricity meter cards

The UK Upper Tribunal has found that a First Tier Tribunal erred in law by deciding that a person who sold his former home and rented it back could not receive Housing Benefit. In an important decision, the court ruled that the test of whether someone could continue to occupy their home without relinquishing ownership is one of practical compulsion, rather than legal compulsion and does not necessitate that the lender has started legal action to recover possession of the property.

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Benefits, Practical tips, Affordability, Legal

The Scottish Government's 2018 Annual Report on Welfare Reform has estimated that UK Government welfare cuts mean that £3.7 billion less is going to be on social security in Scotland by 2020/21. Additionally, the report find that reduced benefit spending is a key driver of increased poverty rates for lone parent families and families with three or more children. 

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Benefits, Outside NI, Welfare Reform

AirBnB is an online platform, which helps people, largely tourists, find suitable short-term accommodation. For many homeowners or tenants with  a spare room, AirBnB has been a welcome stream of additional income, introducing them to tourists who are willing to pay to spend a night or two in a local home.

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Regulation, Practical tips

Housing Rights has produced a short video to encourage Universal Credit claimants to apply for a rate rebate to help with rates payments. Universal Credit does not provide for any assistance with rates payments. Instead, people receiving Universal Credit will have to submit a separate application for assistance with rates.

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Benefits, Welfare Reform

Yesterday's cabinet reshuffle saw Esther McVey become the fifth work and pensions secretary in five years. The role carries overall responsibility for the Department of Work and Pensions, including social security benefits such as Universal Credit.

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Benefits, Outside NI
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Clare, an adviser at Housing Rights, recently assisted a young man who was at risk of being made homeless after his mother died. Paul had moved back into his family home with his mother six years ago, but when his mum died he was told by his mother’s housing association that he would have to leave the property as he had no legal right to remain there.

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Social Tenancies, Welfare Reform, Adviser

The Northern Ireland Housing Executive has released its latest report into tenant satisfaction. The Housing Executive surveys tenants each year to establish their level of satisfaction with the service they receive from their landlord. The Continuous Tenant Omnibus asks tenants to indicate their satisfaction with a number of business areas, including

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Research, Social Tenancies, Welfare Reform
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Laura, an adviser at Housing Rights, recently helped a vulnerable client to stay in her home. The client, Mary, was an introductory tenant facing possession due to rent arrears. Laura explains how she helped Mary to stay in her tenancy and to secure a Housing Benefit backdate to offset the arrears.

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Benefits, Practical tips, Adviser

In January 2017 the temporary absence rules for Housing Benefit changed. Since then, there has been a four-week limit placed on absences outside Northern Ireland. If a person is absent from Northern Ireland for more than four weeks, that person is no longer entitled to receive Housing Benefit, unless the absence is for specific reasons.

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Benefits, Welfare Reform, Affordability

The Government has responded to a House of Lords Committee report on financial exclusion. In its response, it has rejected Committee recommendations to remove the requirement to remove waiting days from Universal Credit for all claimants and to allow direct payment of housing costs to landlords in England and Wales.

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Benefits, Outside NI, Welfare Reform

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