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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

Private Tenancies

Photograph of properties to let in Belfast

In 2017, Housing Rights, with the assistance of PILS NI,  supported local student Paul Loughran in a legal case against two estate agents. Mr Loughran sought to recover fees he had paid to both agents when he applied for a private tenancy.  

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Private Tenancies

Regulations have been laid which extend emergency measures to increase the amount of notice which must be given to private tenants during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Private Tenancies (Coronavirus Modifications) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2021 come into operation on 30 March 2021. They extend the emergency period during which extended notice is required to 30 September 2021. 

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Coronavirus, Private Tenancies

In January 2021, the Department of Finance published their draft budget. The document sets out the Northern Ireland Executive’s proposed spending plans for the one year period from 1 April 2021 to March 2022. 

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Private Tenancies, Policy, Homelessness, NI Assembly

In the immediate aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chancellor decided to realign Local Housing Allowance rates so that they accurately reflected the 30th percentile of local rents. This announcement was widely welcomed, although many organisations argued that LHA rates should never have been allowed to drift so far from real market rents and that a more supportive emergency measure would be to increase the rates to the 50th percentile of local rents. 

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Legislation, Private Tenancies, Affordability

Letting fees in Northern Ireland: Briefing Paper

Letting fees are payments charged by estate agents. They include application fees and administration fees for carrying out credit and employment checks. Despite a significant court ruling in 2017, agents in Northern Ireland continue to charge fees to tenants. Housing Rights believes that the continued practice of charging unlawful letting fees illustrates that case law and Ministerial direction have not been sufficient to curb this practice. It is imperative, in our view, that legislation is brought forward to remove any ambiguity and to ensure that this unlawful practice is brought to an end. This briefing paper sets out the current legislative position in Northern Ireland and elsewhere in regards to letting fees, and highlights the omissions and ambiguities in the current legislation prohibiting such fees in Northern Ireland. 

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Private Tenancies

In the past year, a local charity has seen a 2.5 fold increase in the number of people seeking help because their landlord is selling their home.

Housing Rights advice manager Brenda Parker stressed the importance of private renters understanding their rights, and not feeling pressured to move early just because the property is for sale.

showing over 500% increase in renters seeking advice because property is for sale

Our advisers have noted an increase in the number of people contacting us for help because their home is being sold by their private landlord. 

We’ve already received as many calls about this issue in the first 9 days of December than we had during the whole of March, April and May of this year.It’s important that tenants know what their rights are if their landlord decides to sell their home, and know how to get advice and help if they do need to move. 

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Coronavirus, Private Tenancies, Practical tips

Housing Rights held its annual conference on the private rented sector on the 25 November 2020. TDSNI sponsored this year’s conference, with support from PropertyPal and 

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Private Tenancies

The ‘Perfect Storm’: The impact of Covid-19 on private renters

A new report on the impact of Covid-19 on private renters in Northern Ireland, shows that those living in the private rented sector have been disproportionately affected, caught in the ‘perfect storm’ of low incomes (often as a result of job losses, furlough or reduced hours), job insecurity and tenure insecurity. In part this may be due to the increasing proportion of low income households in the private rented sector, and as such a policy change in favour of social and affordable housing will be key to a post Covid-19 recovery. The research has also shown that the support that many households received has been immensely helpful, but it has also shown us that it is important to remember that we may all be in the same storm, but we are definitely not in the same boat.

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Coronavirus, Legislation, Regulation, Research, Private Tenancies, Policy

A new report on the impact of Covid-19 on private renters in Northern Ireland is launched today. The research uses evidence from case records relating to clients who contacted Housing Rights during the period March-June 2020 and shows that those living in the private rented sector have been disproportionately affected, caught in the ‘perfect storm’ of low incomes (often as a result of job losses, furlough or reduced hours), job insecurity and tenure insecurity.

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Coronavirus, Legislation, Regulation, Research, Private Tenancies, Affordability

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