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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

Social housing reform – will tenants have their say?

Housing in Northern Ireland is about to see the biggest change since the formation of the Housing Executive in 1971. In January the Minister for Social Development announced proposals to reform the way social housing is delivered. Nelson McCausland’s vision is to create “Housing structures that support the provision of social and affordable homes, in thriving communities where people are proud to live”.

The implementation of the Social Housing Reform Programme means it is likely the Housing Executive will cease to exist in its current form. It is proposed that the Housing Executive’s landlord and strategic functions, including homelessness services, will be separated. It is being suggested that its 90,000 housing stock will be transferred from public ownership to a number of other social housing landlords. The future role of rent setting and the regulation of social housing landlords are also being considered. But will tenants have their say?

Janet Hunter, Housing Rights Service Director believes they must: “Tenants and people in housing need are the main stakeholders and must be at heart of the social housing reform process. They should be involved from the outset, be part of the decision making process and inform the eventual delivery model. We believe that tenants should have choice, including any proposals to change their landlord.”

Local charities, Housing Rights Service and Supporting Communities NI are facilitating an event with tenants and housing providers to explore tenant involvement in social housing reform locally. The event will take place in Belfast on 12th December at the MAC and will include speakers from DSD, the Housing Executive as well as experts from Scotland and England.
Brian Holmes, Supporting Communities Director commented: “Giving tenants a voice in the future of Social Housing in Northern Ireland is one of Supporting Communities NI’s main roles . This conference will give attendees the opportunity to hear of Good Practice not only in Northern Ireland but also in England and Scotland. It is important that Tenants/Residents are at the heart of Social Housing in the planning and delivery.”

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Notes to Editor
For further information contact Claire at Housing Rights Service on 02890 245640 or 07872 500846
Spokespersons will be available for comment

This conference aims to:

  • Inform participants about the benefits of involvement from both landlord and tenant perspectives.
  • Provide examples of participation models: what works and what doesn’t.
  • Examine the principles of regulation and how it can work better for consumers.
  • Explore tenant involvement in stock transfer decisions.
  • Open up discussion about involving tenants and service users in the Social Housing Reform Programme.