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Earlier this year the Minister for Social Development, Nelson McCausland, announced a series of proposals to reform social housing in Northern Ireland. In his statement, the Minister said “...change in structures is required to ensure we can continue to deliver well maintained housing stock, improve the focus on strategy and ensure value for money for taxpayers in the future.”

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Social Tenancies

The Office for Fair Trading (OFT) has just launched a consultation on draft guidance which aims to help letting agents and landlords comply with existing consumer legislation.

The UK wide consultation exercise seeks to clarify how the law applies to the lettings market. It also sets out the OFT's views about how the legislation might apply at each step of the lettings process. Dealings relating to business tenants are not covered. 

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Private Tenancies, Legal

Nicola McCrudden, Policy Manager with Housing Rights Service, reflects on her recent attendance at a European Housing conference and what can be applied to Northern Ireland.

A few weeks ago, I was fortunate to attend a European conference on tackling homelessness organised by Feantsa,  the European Federation of National Organisations working with the Homeless.

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HM Treasury has announced that the Help to Buy Mortgage Guarantee Scheme is now open to lenders. The scheme offers a government guarantee to lenders in the hope that this will encourage banks and building societies to offer more mortgages to people with a small deposit.  To qualify for the scheme lenders must pay a fee to the government which will then guarantee 15% of the value of the loan.

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Over the last few of weeks, a number of challenges to the ‘bedroom tax’ have been heard in Great Britain. The bedroom tax is a new measure introduced under the Government’s programme of welfare reform whereby the amount of Housing Benefit which a social tenant receives will be reduced if they are regarded as under-occupying their home. The bedroom tax has not yet been introduced in Northern Ireland.

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Social Tenancies, Welfare Reform, Legal