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When everyone has a home

Housing and debt helpline for Northern Ireland – 028 9024 5640

November 2017

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Laura, an adviser at Housing Rights, recently helped a vulnerable client to stay in her home. The client, Mary, was an introductory tenant facing possession due to rent arrears. Laura explains how she helped Mary to stay in her tenancy and to secure a Housing Benefit backdate to offset the arrears.

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Benefits, Practical tips, Adviser

The full Universal Credit (UC) system is now being initiated at scale across the UK and will continue to roll out across Northern Ireland over the coming months.

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Research, Welfare Reform

Housing Rights, with support from TDS NI, held their fourth annual conference on the private rented sector on 15th November 2017 at the Skainos Centre, in Belfast.

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Private Tenancies, Policy, Landlord

Chancellor for the Exchequer, Phillip Hammond, has announced a £1.5 billion package to address some of the concerns which have been raised in relation to Universal Credit.

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Benefits, Welfare Reform, Affordability

The Northern Ireland Audit Office has released a report on Homelessness in Northern Ireland. The report examines the scale and nature of homelessness in Northern Ireland, and focuses primarily on how effective the Housing Executive’s 2012-2017 Homelessness Strategy has been in addressing this issue.

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Research, Homelessness

A key part of Housing Rights’ work is assisting clients struggling to meet their mortgage payments, or dealing with arrears. In recent weeks, two research papers and one policy consultation have been released which consider how such arrears can be most effectively addressed.

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Repossession, Research

Housing Rights has published the findings of its research study which explores the potential application of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in the private rented sector (PRS).  The research paper makes recommendations to develop and pilot a digital by default ADR system which can be used in this sector of the housing market. 

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Research, Private Tenancies, Policy

In January 2017 the temporary absence rules for Housing Benefit changed. Since then, there has been a four-week limit placed on absences outside Northern Ireland. If a person is absent from Northern Ireland for more than four weeks, that person is no longer entitled to receive Housing Benefit, unless the absence is for specific reasons.

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Benefits, Welfare Reform, Affordability

The Government has responded to a House of Lords Committee report on financial exclusion. In its response, it has rejected Committee recommendations to remove the requirement to remove waiting days from Universal Credit for all claimants and to allow direct payment of housing costs to landlords in England and Wales.

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Benefits, Outside NI, Welfare Reform

Keeping our members up-to-date with the latest information on housing legislation, policy and practice is an important part of the work of Housing Rights and a key function of the Policy and Practice Team.

One way in which we do this is through the Housing Advice Practitioners’ Forum. All member organisations are invited to the Forum and, as it is a benefit of membership, it is free to attend.

The Bank of England today announced the first rise in interest rates since 2007. In the wake of the Brexit referendum last June, the Bank of England reduced the cost of borrowing to 0.25%, but today's announcement brings the interest rate back up to 0.5%. The people who will be most adversely affected by this increase are those households with variable rate mortgages.

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Repossession