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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland


Housing Rights works to achieve positive change by promoting and protecting the rights of people in housing need.  We work to make sure that the voices of the people we help are heard and their problems are reported. 

We are happy to provide spokespersons who can comment on a range of housing issues such as:

  • Welfare reform and housing
  • Finding accommodation
  • Homelessness
  • Repossession
  • Rights when renting privately
  • Housing conditions

If you would like information, comment, or would like to speak to one of our spokespeople email us at pressofficer@housingrights.org.uk  or telephone 02890 245640.

Press releases

Below you'll find some of our recent press releases explaining the difficulties people in Northern Ireland face when trying to find or keep a suitable home.

Local charity Housing Rights is urging older people who get help paying the interest on their mortgage (Support for Mortgage Interest SMI)  to seek advice as they receive notification of the benefit changing to a loan. 

The Department for Communities will be sending out letters notifying older people about the change this weekend.  Claimants will also be contacted by phone in the coming weeks in advance of the benefit ending.

Ursula Toner, Advice Services Manager with Housing Rights said:

Local charity Housing Rights has welcomed a recent ruling from the High Court that declared the benefit cap was “unlawful” and causes “real misery for no good purpose” to lone parents.

The ruling was made in response to a judicial review brought by four lone parent families who argued the benefit cap would have a disproportionate impact on them, as they were unable to work more than 16 hours a week.

Cuts in the help provided to homeowners struggling with their mortgage payments come into place later this week. Local charity Housing Rights is concerned this could put homes at risk and is urging anyone who may be affected to get in touch.

Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) is a means-tested benefit for those in receipt of certain income related benefits who are unable to pay their mortgage.  From 18 June 2017, the interest rate used to calculate how much help homeowners get falls from 3.12% to 2.61%. 

Local advice charity, Housing Rights, has welcomed the launch of Department for Communities (DFC) proposals around the Private Rented Sector. The charity has been calling for better regulation of the sector for many years.

One in five local households now rent their home.  Last year the charity helped people deal with over 2,500 issues related to renting privately.

Kate McCauley, Policy Manager with Housing Rights commented: 

Local charity Housing Rights is urging people who are worried about paying their mortgage or rent following Christmas to contact them for free advice

Catherine Feely, Advice Services Manager with Housing Rights, commented:

“We know that many people in Northern Ireland are struggling with debt worries after Christmas and may be worried about paying their rent or mortgage. We want to let them know that free advice and assistance is available and the earlier they seek help the more options are available.”

In 2014, Housing Rights represented borrowers in a successful high court case that challenged the practice of payment of arrears being automatically included in the mortgage installment, without borrowers knowledge or consent.

Today, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced that this practice is likely to be in breach of its rules. It is to consult on new guidance on how lenders deal with clients in arrears with their mortgage. The guidance will cover remedies for customers who may have been negatively impacted by how their lender has dealt with arrears in the past.

NI Court figures for January to March show an increase in the numbers of repossession cases.[1]  Local charity, Housing Rights, is urging those struggling with their mortgage to get free independent advice as early as possible.

Local charity Housing Rights is warning that changes to how long people must wait to get help with their housing costs will put homes at risk. It is urging anyone who is worried about their mortgage and who could be impacted by these changes to get free independent advice as early as possible.

Janet Hunter, Director of local charity Housing Rights, has been awarded an OBE for her services to the community in the New Year’s Honours list.

Janet has been the Director of Housing Rights since 1994.  The charity provides advice, advocacy and representation services to people who are homeless or in housing need throughout Northern Ireland.

With Homelessness Awareness Week 2015 in full swing, local charity Housing Rights is urging people not to put off dealing with mortgage debt and to get free independent advice as early as possible.