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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

Policy

Review of Rates Liability for the Landlord Sector

The consultation paper seeks views on proposed changes to clarify the rules covering landlord liability for rates. It is argued the current rules are complicated to administer and difficult for landlords (owners) and tenants (occupiers) to fully understand who is legally liable for rates on rented property.

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Private Tenancies, Policy, Landlord, NI Assembly

Towards Financial Inclusion, the expansion of credit union financial services for low-income households

We have become increasingly aware of the large extent of high-cost, sub-prime lending in Northern Ireland and of the disproportionate effects such lending can have on low-income households. With this in mind, research was commissioned into the way in which NI Credit Unions currently serve low-income households and into their potential to expand their outreach within the low-income market in the future.

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Policy

Amendments to Clause 69 of the Welfare Reform Bill (Bedroom Tax)

The Bill is being considered by the NI Assembly over the coming months. Housing Rights Service is particularly concerned about the negative implications of introducing under occupancy penalties commonly referred to as the bedroom tax. We are against the implementation of this provision within Clause 69 and recommend that the Assembly does not introduce it. If this is unavoidable, we have recommended some amendments in an attempt to lessen its impact.

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NI Assembly, Policy, Welfare Reform

Response to Reviewing Support for Repair and Housing in the Private Housing Sector

We are encouraged that the Department is reviewing the current system which has become largely ineffective due to the discretionary nature of the scheme and lack of investment. Any new scheme will have to take into account the financial difficulties many owners are facing and the problems many experience in accessing and servicing loans. Housing Rights Service is in general agreement with the proposition to simplify support arrangements for repair and improvement and to provide for more flexible forms of assistance which meet the particular needs of applicants.

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Private Tenancies, Policy, Landlord

Response to NIHE Consultation on Changes to the Housing Selection Scheme

Housing Rights Service believes that the under-occupancy sanction has the potential to cause real hardship and distress to many claimants and their families.  We are worried the measure will have a disproportionate impact in Northern Ireland given the existing composition of the housing stock and high levels of under-occupation in social housing. In our opinion, the policy will do nothing to ease local housing pressures because the greatest demand is currently for smaller properties -precisely those that the ‘spare bedroom tax’ will force social tenants to try to move to.

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Homelessness, Policy, Social Tenancies

Response to DSD Housing Strategy for Northern Ireland

Housing Rights Service has responded to the DSD consultation exercise - 'Facing the Future: A Housing Strategy for Northern Ireland'. The strategy is intended to cover a five year period from 2012-2017.

Our response examines the five themes contained in the consultation paper, namely:

  • Ensuring access to decent, affordable, sustainable homes across all tenures
  • Meeting housing needs and supporting the most vulnerable
  • Housing and welfare reform
  • Driving regeneration and sustaining communities through housing, and
  • Having correct structures in place.

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Policy, Homelessness, NI Assembly

Meeting the housing needs of vulnerable homeless people in the private rented sector in Northern Ireland

Housing Rights Service has released the findings of a ground breaking research study into how the private rented sector can provide a long-term and sustainable housing solution for homeless people with multiple and complex needs. Although the study shows that no single model of housing and support is likely to be appropriate for all chronically homeless people, it nevertheless finds that the use of rented accommodation in ‘Housing First’ or ‘Housing Led’ models of housing support could provide a solution if adequate safeguards are put in place.

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Private Tenancies, Policy, Homelessness

Fundamental Review of the Regulation of Houses in Multiple Occupation

We believe the proposed change from HMO registration to a licensing system, as already exists in England, Scotland and Wales, will greatly assist in protecting life, enhancing standards and eliminating the duplication that exists in administering the current systems of HMO registration and regulation in Northern Ireland. In this paper we address a number of overarching issues of concern to our clients and include responses to the questions contained in the consultation paper

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Private Tenancies, Policy, Landlord

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