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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

November 2018

Cliffs of Moher, Co Clare

Housing Rights, with Advice NI and the Law Centre (NI) launched a joint report highlighting the approaching 2020 ‘cliff edge’ when funding for the mitigation package, agreed as part of the Fresh Start Agreement in 2015, is due to expire.

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Benefits, Welfare Reform

Our helpline has fielded lots of calls in recent weeks relating to unlawful evictions. In many of these cases, the landlord had furnished the tenant with a “licence” agreement, rather than a tenancy agreement. However, the fact that a person’s contract refers to them as a licensee does not override the facts of the matter. If, on investigation, it is established that a tenancy in fact exists the landlord must follow the correct legal process to recover possession of the dwelling.

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Private Tenancies, Practical tips, Legal

The case of Anon v LB Lewisham clarifies that the standard of suitability of accommodation is not lower for temporary accommodation, and there is no distinct category of ‘temporary accommodation’ in the relevant legislation. A reviewing officer cannot use a lower threshold of suitability for temporary accommodation than more permanent accommodation.

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Outside NI, Homelessness, Legal

In a recent statement, Amber Rudd MP, who was appointed Secretary for Work & Pensions following Esther McVey MP’s resignation, has advised that she will listen to expert guidance with the aim of fixing Universal Credit.

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Benefits, Outside NI, Welfare Reform, Policy

As social housing becomes more difficult to access, many people who may traditionally have found a home in this sector are turning to the private rented sector for a home. However, some people face barriers in accessing this type of accommodation, not just through affordability pressures, but also due to their age. Our adviser talks through a case where she advocated on behalf of a young woman to enable her to take on a tenancy, despite not yet being 18.

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Benefits, Private Tenancies, Practical tips, Adviser
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 Department for Communities has released the Northern Ireland Housing Bulletin for April-June 2018. The bulletin highlights trends in homelessness, housing supply and house prices in Northern Ireland.

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Research, Homelessness

The Universal Credit and Jobseeker’s Allowance (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2018 were laid before Parliament on 5 November 2018. The most significant change brought about by these regulations is the removal of the restrictions on Universal Credit housing costs claims by job-seeking 18 to 21 year olds, a policy that was introduced despite much criticism in 2017.

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Benefits, Legislation, Welfare Reform

Carnegie UK has recently published an evaluation carried out by Just Economics on the CleverCogs™ digital care and support system introduced in Scotland in 2015.

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Research