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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

August 2016

The question of liability for rates in rental properties continues to be a major concern to our tenants.  Sarah Corrigan, Housing Adviser, discusses a recent case where this issue raised its head for a vulnerable, homeless single mother living in temporary accommodation arranged by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.

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Benefits, Practical tips, Homelessness

The dedicated advisers on our housing helpline answer calls from the public from 09:30 until 14:30 Monday to Friday.  Recently, they’ve had quite a few calls from tenants who’ve been asked by a landlord to vacate their homes in a matter of days.  We’ve also spoken with a few people who have been evicted illegally and thought now might be a good opportunity to review the procedures that landlords must follow in order to regain possession of a property from a private tenant.

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Private Tenancies, Adviser

The Housing Benefit (Abolition of the Family Premium and date of claim) (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2016 will reduce the backdating period for Housing Benefit claims from six months to one month and will remove the family premium for new claimants. These changes come into effect on 5th September 2016.

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Benefits, Money Matters, Welfare Reform, Legal

As students across NI get their “A” level results we've come up with some handy tips for anyone, and particularly for new students, who is planning on taking on a new rental tenancy. Many students heading off to college or university will choose to rent privately.  The sector has grown rapidly in recent years and now makes up for 17% of all households, nearly 130,000 homes in Northern Ireland. 

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Private Tenants Forum, Private Tenancies

Social landlords are entitled to recover possession of a dwelling without applying to courts for a possession order where they have carried out investigations and are satisfied that a property has been abandoned by the tenant.  Solicitor Chris McGrath looks at what a landlord is required to do in order to satisfy the legislative requirements relating to abandonment and at a tenant's right to appeal the termination of his or her tenancy under this procedure. 

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Social Tenancies, Legal

A recent report by the NI Statistics and Research agency and the Department for Communities presents awareness and attitudes to welfare reform in Northern Ireland. It highlights a lack of understanding about welfare reform among those who will be affected by it.

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Welfare Reform

Housing Rights has just produced a new Professional Resource on Welfare Reform and Housing. This timely publication should prove to be essential reading for anyone giving advice to clients on the impact of the welfare reform measures.

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Money Matters, Regulation, Welfare Reform

Housing Rights has responded to a consultation by the Financial Conduct Authority, concerning two changes to their Handbook of Rules & Guidance.

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Stephen Orme, our Policy and Public Affairs Officer, and Housing Rights footballer, gives an overview of our inaugural football tournament.

Levels of personal debt have grown significantly in the last number of years and consequently debt problems have become an increasingly large area of work for many advisers. The recession has exacerbated these problems for many people. Where a client’s debts include a housing element such as rent or mortgage arrears they risk losing their home if these debts are not addressed. 

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Money Matters, Practical tips

Following on from our recent ‘Housing Matters’ event, which looked at the housing aspects of the Draft Programme for Government, Housing Rights together with Council for the Homeless (NI), CIH and NIFHA have submitted a joint letter to the Communitie

Northern Ireland has seen home ownership fall from 73% at its peak in 2006, to 63% now. A think tank from the Resolution Foundation used data from the Office for National Statistics' Labour Force Survey (LFS) to look at home ownership in the UK. 

They found that Northern Ireland has seen the biggest fall in home ownership in the UK.

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Money Matters, Research, Private Tenancies, Affordability