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Housing Rights’ annual Private Rented Sector Conference was held on Wednesday 20th November in the Skainos Centre. The PRS 2019 conference, which was sponsored by TDS NI, focused on raising standards in the private rented sector and the day was grouped into three sections:
  • Emerging Issues in the Sector
  • Current Challenges for Landlords & Tenants
  • Future Proofing the PRS

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Benefits, Brexit, Legislation, Outside NI, Regulation, Research, Social Tenancies, Private Tenants Forum, Private Tenancies, Practical tips, Policy

Falling Behind: Local Housing Allowance research

Falling Behind: Exploring the gap between Local Housing Allowance and the availability of affordable private rented accommodation in Northern Ireland.

This research shows that renting privately in Northern Ireland is becoming increasingly unaffordable for people who rely on housing benefit to pay their rent. Almost 9 out of 10 of rental properties are out of reach for people receiving Housing Benefit with the research showing that as little as 12% of properties in the sector would have their rent fully covered by the amount of benefit available.

 

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Benefits, Regulation, Research, Welfare Reform, Policy, Homelessness, Equality, Affordability

In February 2019, the Board of the Housing Executive approved the draft Chronic Homelessness Action Plan, which focuses on the “Ending Homelessness Together” commitment, set out in the Homelessness Strategy 2017-2022.

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Regulation, Homelessness
Picture of housing

A new system for licensing and managing Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) came into effect on 1 April 2019. The main changes are

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Regulation, Private Tenancies
Members attending Housing Rights Housing Advice Practitioners' Forum

Stephen Leonard, Neighbourhood Manager at Belfast City Council briefed members of the Housing Practitioners’ Forum on the new HMO regime, which comes into effect on 1st April 2019.

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Regulation, Private Tenancies
Graphic from Karly Greene's presentation

Housing Rights held its annual conference on the private rented sector on 21 November. This year’s conference was sponsored by TDS NI and focused on changes, challenges and collaborations in the sector. The day was grouped into four themes:

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Benefits, Regulation, Research, Private Tenancies, Welfare Reform, Policy, Landlord

The Housing Executive has published the results of its analysis of the costs of poor housing in Northern Ireland. The report suggests that it would cost approximately £305million to eliminate category 1 hazards across Northern Ireland's housing stock, but suggests that such costs would be recovered within 8 years via reduced NHS costs as a result of improved housing. 

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Regulation, Social Tenancies, Affordability

The NI Public Services Ombudsman has recently published criteria for investigations the Ombudsman conducts under Own Initiative powers, which came into effect in April this year.

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Regulation

Following a successful pilot Housing Rights has secured a contract to provide a free telephone and email advice service for landlords for the next three years.

Funding for the service, which is provided by the Department for Communities, means landlords can access free confidential advice to help meet their legal requirements.  The “Landlord Advice” service aims to promote a professional and well managed private rented sector that is good for both landlords and tenants.

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Regulation, Private Tenancies

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

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