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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

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Jamie contacted Housing Rights when his landlord told him that he owed around £6,000 in rent. Jamie was surprised as he thought that Housing Benefit paid his full rent and rates. His landlord issued him with eviction papers and Jamie came to us for help.

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Households in Northern Ireland are in danger of falling even deeper into housing poverty over the forthcoming months, according to local housing advice charity Housing Rights.  

With the withdrawal of government financial support measures introduced at the start of the pandemic coupled with soaring living costs, it is becoming more difficult for households to manage, with many accruing debts in order to get by.   

A fixed-term tenancy offers private tenants extra protection. Usually, if a tenant has a fixed-term contract: 

  • the landlord can't increase the rent until the contract ends, and 
  • the landlord can only evict the tenant if they've breached the contract.  

Our adviser helped 2 tenants show that their fixed-term contracts were valid, despite the landlord not signing these.  

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Private Tenancies, Adviser

Our adviser Faith recently helped a client who had presented as homeless to the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) after losing his tenancy.  

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Homelessness, Adviser

Our adviser Amy was able to help a client who was homeless and using his Personal Independence Payment to pay for an emergency stay in a bed & breakfast, as he was not entitled to help with housing from the Housing Executive.  

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Homelessness, Adviser

One of the most welcome local interventions to assist private renters who have lost income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the Housing Executive’s commitment to use the Discretionary Housing Payment scheme to restore vital welfare protections missing from Universal Credit.  Our advisers have been helping people to claim this assistance, but have come across a few incidences where the claimant isn’t

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Coronavirus, Private Tenancies, Affordability, Adviser

One of our advisers recently had a very positive outcome for a client who was looking forward to starting her new tenancy but quickly came up against a problem. 

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Money Matters, Affordability, Adviser

When Universal Credit was introduced, our advisers worried that well-established principles covering complex areas of housing benefit law would not be ported across to the new regime. One particular area of concern was the provisions which allow a claim for assistance with housing costs to be disallowed where the decision maker suspects that the claim has been contrived in order to take advantage of the benefits system.

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Benefits, Private Tenancies, Practical tips, Adviser

The “digital by default” nature of Universal Credit is supposed to make it easier for people to notify the Department of changes in circumstances which will affect their claims. Most people will find it pretty easy to notify Universal Credit of a rent increase. It’s simply a matter of logging in and making an adjustment to the housing costs section of their account. However, it’s not such a simple process for people in custody who do not have access to the internet.

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Benefits, Practical tips, Adviser

Mitigation payments have really helped the people of Northern Ireland to deal with the financial stresses created by welfare reforms like the bedroom tax. These mitigations are shortly due to end, something that will cause pain and hardship for many. However, mitigation payments can and have been lost. Victoria, one of our advisers recently assisted a client facing eviction due to the loss of his mitigation payment.

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Benefits, Welfare Reform, Adviser

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