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When everyone has a home

Housing and debt helpline for Northern Ireland – 028 9024 5640

August 2013

New regulations come into force on 1 September 2013 which will change how Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates are set in future.

Since 2011, LHA rates have been set using the lowest 30% of rents (the 30th percentile) in selected geographical areas known as Broad Rental Market Areas.

Further changes were introduced in 2012 to allow the rate of LHA to be frozen for a year and to have it linked to the Consumer Price Index.

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Private Tenancies, Affordability

Croatia acceded to the EU on 1 July 2013. The UK has placed restrictions on the rights of Croatian nationals to access the UK labour market by setting up a Worker Authorisation Scheme. These restrictions will last until at least 30 June 2018.

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Social Tenancies, Homelessness, Legal

Housing Rights Service and Law Centre (NI) have recently responded to the Home Office consultation ‘Tackling illegal immigration in privately rented accommodation’. Under the proposals all private landlords will have to carry out checks on the immigration status of every tenant before renting out a room or house.

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Private Tenancies, Policy, Equality, Landlord
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Our housing advice line gets stacks of queries about renting privately.  A lot of the PRS cases that come through to me and my colleagues could have been prevented at the start of the tenancy if the tenant or the landlord was better prepared.

We get a lot of calls in September and October each year from people who've signed up to a tenancy that hasn't worked out.  The reasons that people have for wanting to get out of agreements are understandable, some common issues are:

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Private Tenancies, Practical tips, Landlord, Adviser

We invite experts in the housing field to give us their opinion on a hot topic of their choice, they also have the opportunity to make three housing themed wishes

Our first contributor is Professor Paddy Gray who gives us his opinion on the recovery in Northern Ireland's housing market.

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Repossession, Affordability, Opinion

The latest Northern Ireland Housing Bulletin shows that there has been a significant increase of 15% in the number of households experiencing homelessness.

One of the headline statistics of the Bulletin, which covers the period of 1 January 2013 to 31 March 2013, is the 15% (652) increase in the number of households presenting as homeless to the Housing Executive, compared to the previous quarter.

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Homelessness
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Cat Song is a second-year law student from Fordham University School of Law in New York, NY.  She is currently working at Housing Rights Service as a legal research intern studying comparative housing law in the different UK jurisdictions.   

In her final article for Housing Rights Service, Cat explains how social housing works in the US.  

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Social Tenancies, Opinion

The Housing Executive has just launched its latest Review and Perspectives on the Northern Ireland Housing Market for 2013 – 2016. The document looks at the prospects for the local housing market against a backdrop of what is happening in the economy and population changes.

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Private Tenancies, Social Tenancies

New figures released today (14 August 2013) by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme Northern Ireland show that local tenants are paying higher deposits than previously estimated.

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Affordability, Private Tenancies

Paddy Gray is Professor of Housing in the School of the Built Environment of the University of Ulster. He is an established academic and is a leading authority on housing in the UK and Ireland. Below he describes what he would ask for if granted three wishes by the Housing Genie.

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Housing Genie, Opinion
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Cat Song is a second-year law student from Fordham University School of Law in New York, NY.  She is currently working at Housing Rights Service as a legal research intern studying comparative housing law in the different U.K. jurisdictions.   In this article, Cat looks at the process of "short selling" a property, an option that has become increasingly popular for overburdened homeowners in the US. 

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Repossession, Opinion

To end a tenancy either the landlord or the tenant must serve a Notice to Quit.  But, can that notice be served electronically?  We’ve asked our Legal Team to investigate.  Carmel Ferguson reports.

The law regarding Notice to Quit

Article 14 Of the Private Tenancies Order 2006 states that—

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Private Tenancies, Practical tips, Case law, Legal
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Landlords who rent accommodation to illegal immigrants risk being fined up to £3,000 under plans recently proposed by the UK Government. Ministers want to make it more difficult for illegal immigrants to rent private accommodation in the UK.

The Home Office has issued a consultation paper on tackling illegal immigration in privately rented accommodation and is seeking views on its proposals that landlords carry out immigration checks on tenants. 

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Private Tenancies, Policy, Equality, Landlord
picture of legal intern Cat Song

Cat Song is a second-year law student from Fordham University School of Law in New York, NY.  She is currently working at Housing Rights Service as a legal research intern studying comparative housing law in the different UK jurisdictions.   

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Repossession, Affordability, Opinion
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About a year ago a number of advisers here found some of our clients who had previously secured a Suspended Possession Order (SPO) were running up against a peculiar problem.

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Adviser, Legal, Repossession