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When everyone has a home

028 9024 5640: Housing & Debt Helpline for Northern Ireland

Key housing issues for the new assembly mandate

Northern Ireland will head to the polls in 2022 to elect a new Assembly. A key task for the new mandate will be dealing with homelessness and housing issues.

Our policy work focuses on the experience of the people who contact us for housing help every day.  We think these actions could help to deliver good-quality, sustainable and affordable homes.

Improving the housing situation across all housing tenures

These actions could make big improvements for everyone in Northern Ireland

  • Include a standalone housing outcome in the Programme for Government
  • extend the existing welfare reform mitigations and close loopholes
  • mitigate other challenges of welfare reform, such as the waiting period for Universal Credit and the two-child limit
  • involve those with lived experience of poor housing and homelessness in co-designing solutions

Improving the situation for private renters

To make real change for private renters, policy makers need to

  • Enact and maximise the private tenancies bill
  • Introduce indefinite tenancies 
  • Improve fitness standards 
  • Introduce landlord licensing for all private landlords 
  • End ‘No DSS’ discrimination
  • Ban letting fees in all but prescribed circumstances

Improving the situation for homeowners

To help struggling homeowners, the Assembly must

  • reduce the waiting times for support for mortgage interest
  • reinstate mortgage interest help as a grant, rather than a loan
  • let working people on Universal Credit claim help with their mortgage interest payments
  • introduce a mortgage rescue scheme for Northern Ireland

Making real change for social renters

To improve the situation for social renters, we must

  • Ensure tenants have the final say on the plans to revitalise the NIHE through a tenant ballot
  • End the NIHE house sales scheme

Ending homelessness together

To commit to ending homelessness, the Assembly must

  • introduce a duty for relevant bodies to cooperate to prevent and alleviate homelessness
  • ensure that the period during which a person is threatened with homelessness reflects extended notice to quit requirements
  • adopt a housing first approach to chronic homelessness
  • provide longer-term solutions for people with no recourse to public funds

Read our MLA bulletin to find out more about the changes we want to see

This article was written on 10 January 2022. It should not be relied on as a statement of the current law or policy position. For help with housing issues please contact our helpline on 028 9024 5640 or use our online chat service at www.housingadviceNI.org.