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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

January 2017

Housing Rights is holding a seminar to explore the key issues relevant to establishing an Independent Housing Panel for Northern Ireland, as recently recommended in the Department for Communities proposals for the Private Rented Sector.

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Private Tenancies

We've rounded up some of the questions answered by Communities Minister Paul Givan during January.

Welfare Reform

To ask the Minister for Communities whether he has, or intends to explore the potential of a universal basic income model instead of the current benefit system. Mr Robin Swann, UUP- North Antrim.  AQW9133-/16-21

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NI Assembly

The Government has issued a new set of Immigration Regulations to commence on 1st February 2017. The Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016 revoke and replace the 2006 Regulations.

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Minority Groups, Regulation, Equality, Legal

Landlords and agents who fail to protect a tenant’s deposit face fixed penalty charges and, ultimately, prosecution.  Solicitor Chris McGrath discusses the risks that landlords face if they don’t ensure that deposits have been adequately protected.

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Private Tenancies, Legal

New research by Bristol University has investigated the UK poverty premium – when low-income households pay more for essential goods and services compared to those on higher incomes. 

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Money Matters, Research, Affordability

On Monday 16th January, the mitigations for the Social Sector Size Criteria (“bedroom tax”) were approved by the Assembly. Here we look in detail at what the “bedroom tax” policy is, and how the mitigations will work in practice.

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Benefits, Social Tenancies, Welfare Reform, Affordability

In October 2016 the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced it was consulting on new guidance on the treatment of customers with mortgage arrears.

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Regulation, Repossession, Policy, Affordability

Helping to keep our members up-to-date with the latest information on housing legislation, policy and practice is an important part of the work of Housing Rights and a key function of the Policy and Practice Team. One way in which we do this is through the Housing Advice Practitioners’ Forum.

From 30th January 2017, the amount of time for which a claimant will be able to receive Housing Benefit whilst temporarily absent from Northern Ireland will be reduced, in most cases, to a maximum of 4 weeks. The change applies to both working age claimants and state pension credit age claimants.

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Benefits, Minority Groups, Social Tenancies, Private Tenancies, Affordability

Kate McCauley, Policy & Practice Manager with Housing Rights, calls for additional safeguards to be put in place following the passing of the mitigation regulations for the “Bedroom Tax”.

Housing Rights is seriously concerned that the potential dissolution of the Assembly could have the unintended consequence of the Executive failing to mitigate the introduction of the Social Sector Size Criteria (the so-called “bedroom tax”) in Northern Ireland.

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Benefits, Welfare Reform, Affordability

A new telephone and email helpline service providing residential landlords in Northern Ireland with free confidential advice and information will be available from January 10th 2017.

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Housing Rights has responded to the consultation on the draft Programme for Government (PfG), and the Delivery Plan for PfG indicators 8 and 48. In our response, we highlighted the following key points:

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Policy, NI Assembly

On Friday 10 March, we will be having a drinks reception, some great live music and a bit of supper. And, always good for a any night out, its BYO (bring your own drink). So at £20 a ticket, it’s a bargain!