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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

Policy

Nicola McCrudden, Policy Manager with Housing Rights Service, explains what the Housing Rights Service feels the Social Housing Reform Programme needs to contain to cater for clients.

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Social Tenancies, Policy

Housing Rights Service is involved in discussions around the future of rates support in Northern Ireland and has responded to a recent Government consultation. Nicola McCrudden, our Policy Manager, outlines our views.

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Welfare Reform, Policy

Response to Rates Reform

Housing Rights appreciates that DFP is facing the major challenge of meeting the 10% Westminster funding cut for rates support while trying to ensure that assistance remains available for the most vulnerable. We broadly agree with the preferred approach and that existing levels of support for those who are least able to pay should be retained. Housing Rights is concerned about the impact of the funding shortfalls imposed by Westminster. However in this context, the ‘least worst’ option would be to make up savings from removing or reducing other rating support measures and allowances for households. We are aware that the removal of this support could have a negative impact on some low income families. We therefore recommend that the Department considers developing a hardship scheme.

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Policy

A long awaited strategy to tackle the problem of empty properties has just been launched by the Department for Social Development (DSD). The Empty Homes Strategy and Action Plan 2013-2018 aims to bring the estimated 32,000 empty homes across NI into use.
Speaking about the new strategy, the DSD Minister, Nelson McCausland said:

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Private Tenancies, Policy, Homelessness

A Response to Credit Unions and Industrial Provident Societies Bill

As part of the ongoing reform of credit unions, the Department for Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) released for consultation proposals for legislative change. The proposals mirrored some of the major recent legislative developments in Britain. They included, for example, amending the rules relating to the common bond for membership, allowing credit unions to admit corporate members and considering increasing the 1% per month interest rate cap on loans. 

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Policy

The Lord Chief Justice believes, in cases of social housing rent arrears, it would be helpful for all parties to be aware of the steps that the court will expect to be taken before starting court action. A draft pre-action protocol setting out these steps has been released for consultation.

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Repossession, Social Tenancies, Policy, Legal

Response to the Home Office Consultation on Tackling Illegal Immigration in Privately Rented Accommodation

Housing Rights Service and Law Centre (NI) have recently responded to this Home Office consultation. Under the proposals all private landlords will have to carry out checks on the immigration status of every tenant before renting out a room or house. This response highlights our concerns and criticisms over these measures.Both agencies are opposed to the proposed checking scheme outlined in the consultation.

We fear the proposal will result in migrants being treated in a discriminatory manner and more individuals (whether migrants or not) threatened with homelessness. We believe the Home Office need to reconsider these plans in the light of the many criticisms raised in this response and by other landlord and tenant groups.

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Private Tenancies, Policy, Equality, Landlord

Housing Rights Service and Law Centre (NI) have recently responded to the Home Office consultation ‘Tackling illegal immigration in privately rented accommodation’. Under the proposals all private landlords will have to carry out checks on the immigration status of every tenant before renting out a room or house.

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Private Tenancies, Policy, Equality, Landlord

Landlords who rent accommodation to illegal immigrants risk being fined up to £3,000 under plans recently proposed by the UK Government. Ministers want to make it more difficult for illegal immigrants to rent private accommodation in the UK.

The Home Office has issued a consultation paper on tackling illegal immigration in privately rented accommodation and is seeking views on its proposals that landlords carry out immigration checks on tenants. 

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Private Tenancies, Policy, Equality, Landlord

As representatives on the Department of Enterprise, Trade & Investment (DETI) Financial Capability Forum Housing Rights Service has contributed to the development of a Financial Capability Strategy for Northern Ireland (NI). 

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Policy, Affordability, NI Assembly

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