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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

Practical tips

Housing Rights has produced a new professional resource on the lawfulness of letting fees within the private rental sector.

Letting fees are additional charges for services included in the routine letting and management of properties. They affect both tenants and landlords in the private rental sector – a sector which is increasing in size on account of a shortage of social housing and barriers to home ownership.

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Private Tenancies, Practical tips

Our helpline has fielded lots of calls in recent weeks relating to unlawful evictions. In many of these cases, the landlord had furnished the tenant with a “licence” agreement, rather than a tenancy agreement. However, the fact that a person’s contract refers to them as a licensee does not override the facts of the matter. If, on investigation, it is established that a tenancy in fact exists the landlord must follow the correct legal process to recover possession of the dwelling.

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Private Tenancies, Practical tips, Legal

As social housing becomes more difficult to access, many people who may traditionally have found a home in this sector are turning to the private rented sector for a home. However, some people face barriers in accessing this type of accommodation, not just through affordability pressures, but also due to their age. Our adviser talks through a case where she advocated on behalf of a young woman to enable her to take on a tenancy, despite not yet being 18.

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Benefits, Private Tenancies, Practical tips, Adviser

The Department for Communities has issued guidance on the effect of a recent upper tribunal decision concerning the meaning of the phrase “A person is responsible for a child or qualifying young person who normally lives with them”, which appears in the Universal Credit legislation.

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Benefits, Practical tips, Case law, Legal
Image of housing benefit application form and electricity meter cards

The UK Upper Tribunal has found that a First Tier Tribunal erred in law by deciding that a person who sold his former home and rented it back could not receive Housing Benefit. In an important decision, the court ruled that the test of whether someone could continue to occupy their home without relinquishing ownership is one of practical compulsion, rather than legal compulsion and does not necessitate that the lender has started legal action to recover possession of the property.

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Benefits, Practical tips, Affordability, Legal

AirBnB is an online platform, which helps people, largely tourists, find suitable short-term accommodation. For many homeowners or tenants with  a spare room, AirBnB has been a welcome stream of additional income, introducing them to tourists who are willing to pay to spend a night or two in a local home.

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Regulation, Practical tips
conference speakers with the Mayor of Lisburn, Director of Housing Rights, Janet Hunter, and conference Chair Lorraine Campbell, Supporting Communities

On Wednesday 19th September, Housing Rights and Supporting Communities, together with Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council held our annual joint conference ‘Tackling Housing Challenges Together’.

The conference focussed on Collaboration, Community Planning and the Wellbeing agenda and included speakers from local councils, housing associations, planning organisations as well as contributors from Scotland.

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Practical tips, Policy

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

Carmel Ferguson LLB, discusses how Housing Rights successfully helped a client who was being evicted from his home by getting his tenancy declared as protected.

Practitioners will be aware that since the implementation of the Private Tenancies (Northern Ireland) Order 2006, no new protected tenancies can be created.

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Practical tips, Case law, Legal

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