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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

Policy & Research

Our policy work is based on the experiences of people who contact us for advice. We work on their behalf to secure positive changes to housing legislation, policy and practice in Northern Ireland. You can read more about what we are striving to achieve in the coming year by downloading our policy priorities.

Below, you will find copies of policy briefings, consultation responses and research papers that Housing Rights has produced recently.

Review of Rates Liability for the Landlord Sector

The consultation paper seeks views on proposed changes to clarify the rules covering landlord liability for rates. It is argued the current rules are complicated to administer and difficult for landlords (owners) and tenants (occupiers) to fully understand who is legally liable for rates on rented property.

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Private Tenancies, Policy, Landlord, NI Assembly

Towards Financial Inclusion, the expansion of credit union financial services for low-income households

We have become increasingly aware of the large extent of high-cost, sub-prime lending in Northern Ireland and of the disproportionate effects such lending can have on low-income households. With this in mind, research was commissioned into the way in which NI Credit Unions currently serve low-income households and into their potential to expand their outreach within the low-income market in the future.

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Policy

Amendments to Clause 69 of the Welfare Reform Bill (Bedroom Tax)

The Bill is being considered by the NI Assembly over the coming months. Housing Rights Service is particularly concerned about the negative implications of introducing under occupancy penalties commonly referred to as the bedroom tax. We are against the implementation of this provision within Clause 69 and recommend that the Assembly does not introduce it. If this is unavoidable, we have recommended some amendments in an attempt to lessen its impact.

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NI Assembly, Policy, Welfare Reform

Response to NIHE Consultation on Changes to the Housing Selection Scheme

Housing Rights Service believes that the under-occupancy sanction has the potential to cause real hardship and distress to many claimants and their families.  We are worried the measure will have a disproportionate impact in Northern Ireland given the existing composition of the housing stock and high levels of under-occupation in social housing. In our opinion, the policy will do nothing to ease local housing pressures because the greatest demand is currently for smaller properties -precisely those that the ‘spare bedroom tax’ will force social tenants to try to move to.

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Homelessness, Policy, Social Tenancies

Response to Reviewing Support for Repair and Housing in the Private Housing Sector

We are encouraged that the Department is reviewing the current system which has become largely ineffective due to the discretionary nature of the scheme and lack of investment. Any new scheme will have to take into account the financial difficulties many owners are facing and the problems many experience in accessing and servicing loans. Housing Rights Service is in general agreement with the proposition to simplify support arrangements for repair and improvement and to provide for more flexible forms of assistance which meet the particular needs of applicants.

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Private Tenancies, Policy, Landlord

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