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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

May 2016

The Council for Mortgage Lenders (CML), with the support of Housing Rights,  hosted a conference “The mortgage market in Northern Ireland” in Belfast on the 24 May 2016.

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Repossession, Policy, Affordability

Affordability is the fastest growing issue for people who contact Housing Rights for advice. Increasingly, housing providers are also recognising the important role that they can play in supporting tenants’ financial wellbeing, by teaching them how to maximise their income and make wiser spending decisions.  

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Money Matters, Practical tips

Social Security benefit decisions made on or after Monday 23rd May will be subject to a new challenge and appeal process.

Mandatory Reconsideration

Where previously, a claimant could proceed straight to tribunal when challenging a benefits decision, from 23rd May the claimant must first have their decision reconsidered by the relevant body. This is referred to as “mandatory reconsideration.”

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Benefits, Practical tips

Landlord licensing is set to be introduced for HMOs in Northern Ireland following the Assembly’s passing of the Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Bill. The Bill is currently awaiting Royal assent.

Although not solely focused on private rented properties, the HMO Bill is seen as a key component in improving regulation and standards within the sector. It is hoped the Bill will provide better protection for tenants living in houses of multiple occupation.

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Fitness, Regulation, Private Tenancies, Case law, Landlord, Legal

On Tuesday 17th May, Housing Rights hosted a policy seminar on tools for raising standards in housing. We gathered a panel of expert speakers to discuss options for raising housing standards, in light of the Department for Communities’ ongoing review of the Housing Fitness Standard.

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Private Tenancies, Policy

Housing Rights provides the only Housing Possession Court Duty Scheme in Northern Ireland. These court desks schemes, which are more commonly seen in England, provide free legal representation to homeowners and tenants who are in court for possession hearings and risk being made homeless because of housing debt.

Advice and representation at court can make all the difference as this recent example illustrates.

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Repossession, Practical tips, Adviser

Carmel Ferguson, solicitor with Housing Rights, recently assisted an elderly couple who had been missold a mortgage.  Housing Rights first assisted the couple at court as part of our Housing Possession Court Duty Scheme.  The adviser at court represented Patrick and Mary at court before asking Carmel and our legal team to look into the case in further detail.

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A second group of Syrian refugees have arrived in Northern Ireland. These individuals and families are being relocated in Northern Ireland in accordance with the Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme 2015.

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Benefits, Minority Groups, Social Tenancies, Private Tenancies

Helm Housing Association and Fold Housing have announced plans to merge.  If approved, the merger will take effect in 2017 and will see the formation of a new organisation This new association will become the largest housing association in Northern Ireland with a stock of 12,000 homes and a staff of over 1,000 individuals. 

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Social Tenancies