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When everyone has a home

Housing and debt helpline for Northern Ireland – 028 9024 5640

Stephen Orme

Regulations converting Support for Mortgage Interest to a loan have recently been passed. We take a look at how the new payments of SMI will operate for claimants.

Loans for mortgage interest

All payments of SMI made on or after 6th April 2018 will take the form of a loan.

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Benefits, Repossession, Welfare Reform, Affordability

Housing Rights has responded to the Prisons’ Service “Prisons 2020” discussion document, which aims to “provide an efficient, effective, modern and affordable service which is focused on the development of staff and capable of rehabilitating people in custody.”

Housing has featured prominently at the recent party conferences. We take a look at what Labour and the Conservatives pledged.

Labour housing pledges

In his speech to the Labour party conference, Jeremy Corbyn made several pledges in relation to housing and rents:

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Outside NI, Policy

Citizens Advice has renewed its calls for a pause in the roll-out of Universal Credit in Great Britain, citing evidence that the new benefit is causing increased debts, rent arrears and difficulty in meeting core household expenses.

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Benefits, Research, Welfare Reform, Policy

It's now been over a year since Personal Independence Payments (PIP) were introduced in Northern Ireland. With this in mind, and in light of the ongoing programme of transferring existing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) claimants over to PIP, we wanted to highlight some of the ways in which an individual's housing situation could be impacted by this change. 

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Benefits, Welfare Reform

On 18th June, the rate of Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) will fall from 3.12% to 2.61%. This could have significant impacts on the ability of SMI recipients to stay in their homes.

However, this isn’t the only change on the way for Support for Mortgage Interest. Over the next few years there will be more changes that will further restrict and alter this benefit.

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Benefits, Welfare Reform, Affordability

A Welsh landlord has been fined £4,400 and costs for failing to comply with the landlord licensing requirements of Rent Smart Wales.

“Rent Smart Wales” and landlord licensing

Since 23rd November 2016, a system of landlord registration and licensing has operated in Wales. All private landlords in Wales must be registered; in addition to this, all private landlords – or agents who act on their behalf – must be licensed in order to let private property in Wales. 

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Regulation, Private Tenancies, Landlord

Back in November, we brought you news of two successful challenges to the “Bedroom Tax” size criteria policy in the UK Supreme Court. The success of these challenges resulted in new regulations, which expanded the circumstances in which a household is permitted an “additional” bedroom.

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Benefits, Welfare Reform, Case law

The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 received Royal Assent in England & Wales on 27th April. Our Policy & Public Affairs Officer, Stephen Orme, takes a look at the key elements of the Act, and other recent progressions in homeless law.

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Legislation, Homelessness

New Regulations have been passed, coming into effect on 20th April 2017, which expand the circumstances in which a household is permitted an “additional” room by Housing Benefit rules. These changes apply to both the social and private rented sectors.

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Benefits, Social Tenancies, Private Tenancies, Welfare Reform

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