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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

Intermediate rent in Northern Ireland 

We've responded to the Department for Communities' consultation on intermediate rent.  

We know how important it is to address the shortage of housing in Northern Ireland. But any new housing product has to add to the net housing stock we currently have and must be truly affordable. 

Addressing the housing supply shortage 

The department plans to introduce a new intermediate rent product. People will pay a lower rent for homes provided under this product. The rents can be up to 80% of market levels.  

An intermediate rent product can help to address the housing supply shortage. But 

  • funding for this product must not reduce funding for new social homes 
  • it should focus on adding to housing stock, by targeting new builds not existing rental properties 
  • insecurity of tenure is a driver of homelessness, so tenancies should last for a minimum of 5 years 

Ensuring the scheme is an affordable option 

This scheme will help people with lower to moderate incomes. We don't think it will help those on low-incomes. Housing benefits are capped at 30% of market rent. Those on benefits or on low-incomes will still struggle to pay an intermediate rent if it is 80% of market rents. 

We agree that there should be a maximum income threshold for the scheme. But we do not agree with a minimum income threshold. A minimum threshold could exclude households who would otherwise benefit from a more affordable rent. 

It's essential that the product is affordable. In addition to capping rents, we think  

  • there should be a limit on how much deposit and rent in advance is charges 
  • service charges should be limited 
  • tenants should have clear, understandable information about rates liability and payments 
  • the assessment process should include financial inclusion support 

Read our response to the Department for Communities' consultation into an intermediate rent product for Northern Ireland

Tagged In

Private Tenancies, Policy, Affordability

This article was written on 20 December 2021. It should not be relied on as a statement of the current law or policy position. For help with housing issues please contact our helpline on 028 9024 5640 or use our online chat service at www.housingadviceNI.org.