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028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

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BBC News NI reported last week on system failures within Universal Credit that have left some local tenants in rent arrears.  We’d encourage anyone who has fallen behind on their housing payments to get advice urgently, regardless of the reasons for missed payments. 

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Benefits, Social Tenancies, Private Tenancies, Welfare Reform

Over 126,000 people in Northern Ireland were claiming Universal Credit on 26 April 2020, an increase of 80% from the figure of 70,000 claimants just 8 weeks earlier on 1 March, according to recently released information from the Department for Communities. The number of applications during that 8-week period totalled 65,700.

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Benefits, Coronavirus, Welfare Reform

Land & Property Services has advised that its online rate rebate portal is unavailable between Monday 4 May and Monday 11 May. This is an annual occurence to allow for the uprating of claims.

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Benefits, Affordability

In the past year over 100 member organisations involved in the Cliff Edge Coalition have been urgently calling for welfare mitigations to be extended beyond 31st March 2020 and strengthened to take account of the new challenges such as Universal Credit, including the two-child limit, and cuts to housing benefits in the private rented sector.

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Benefits, Welfare Reform

How the Assembly can deal with housing problems created by Covid-19

This briefing paper details the ways in which we foresee Covid-19 and associated economic fallout impacting on homelessness and housing in Northern Ireland. It includes measures which we believe Government can take to cushion some of the worst impacts and help vulnerable people at this unique and troubling time. 

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Benefits, Social Tenancies, Private Tenancies, Welfare Reform, Homelessness

When Universal Credit was introduced, our advisers worried that well-established principles covering complex areas of housing benefit law would not be ported across to the new regime. One particular area of concern was the provisions which allow a claim for assistance with housing costs to be disallowed where the decision maker suspects that the claim has been contrived in order to take advantage of the benefits system.

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Benefits, Private Tenancies, Practical tips, Adviser

Leading housing advice charity, Housing Rights, has today (Monday 3rd February) welcomed an announcement by the Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey MLA, that legislation will be introduced to extend the bedroom tax mitigation beyond March 2020, when this vital protection was otherwise due to end.

Speaking about the announcement, Housing Rights Policy & Practice Manager Kate McCauley said:

From 1 January 2019 new claimants of Universal Credit will have access to a contingency fund without having to first apply for an advance payment. 

The contingency fund was set up to assist those who had moved to Universal Credit, following explicit recommendations in the Evason Report for a fund "...to make emergency payments where hardship occurs as a result difficulties which are not due to any fault on the part of the claimant." 

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Benefits, Welfare Reform
 
Housing Rights’ annual Private Rented Sector Conference was held on Wednesday 20th November in the Skainos Centre. The PRS 2019 conference, which was sponsored by TDS NI, focused on raising standards in the private rented sector and the day was grouped into three sections:
  • Emerging Issues in the Sector
  • Current Challenges for Landlords & Tenants
  • Future Proofing the PRS

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Benefits, Brexit, Legislation, Outside NI, Regulation, Research, Social Tenancies, Private Tenants Forum, Private Tenancies, Practical tips, Policy

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