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Legislation

The Universal Credit and Jobseeker’s Allowance (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2018 were laid before Parliament on 5 November 2018. The most significant change brought about by these regulations is the removal of the restrictions on Universal Credit housing costs claims by job-seeking 18 to 21 year olds, a policy that was introduced despite much criticism in 2017.

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Benefits, Legislation, Welfare Reform

Regulations were issued in August expanding the existing capital disregards relating to benefit arrears. Capital, resulting from a benefit arrear payable as a result of an error or on a point of law can now be disregarded for the lifetime of the benefit award. Previously, such capital could only have been disregarded for a maximum period of 52 weeks.

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Benefits, Legislation, Welfare Reform
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An estimated additional 177,000 properties in England are now subject to mandatory House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) licensing as a result of the changes brought about by the Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Prescribed Description) (England) Order 2018.

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Legislation, Outside NI, Private Tenancies


Dr Julie Rugg and David Rhodes from the centre for Housing Policy at the University of York, launched a review called, ‘The Evolving Private Rented Sector: Its Contribution and Potential’. It was funded by the Nationwide Foundation, and released on Monday 10th September.

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Legislation, Outside NI, Research, Private Tenancies

Shane Clements from the Department for Communities (DfC) briefed members of the Housing Practitioners’ Forum on DfC’s current consultation on the Future of the House Sales Scheme, which closes on 24 September.

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Legislation, Research, Practical tips

Universal Credit is currently being rolled out across Northern Ireland, with a number of areas already under the scheme. It replaces Working Tax Credits, Child Tax Credits, Income Support, Income-based Job Seekers Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance and Housing Benefit (with the exception of exempt accommodation types).  Anyone of working age who currently receives these benefits will be affected.

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Legislation, Practical tips

The House of Commons has published a briefing paper “Can private landlords refuse to let to Housing Benefit claimants?”. The paper discusses private landlords’ reluctance to let to Housing Benefit claimants and considers whether this is a form of discrimination.

Some of the suggested reasons why landlords may be reluctant to rent to Housing Benefit claimants include;

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Benefits, Legislation, Homelessness

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.

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

Recent legislation limited Child Tax Credit for households with more than two children, where one or more of these children has been born on or after 6th April 2017. This means that a family with three children, where two of the three were born before 6th April 2017, and one child was born after this date, will only receive tax credits in respect of the oldest two children.

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Benefits, Legislation, Welfare Reform, Affordability

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