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When everyone has a home

Housing and debt helpline for Northern Ireland – 028 9024 5640

September 2013

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Nicola McCrudden is the Policy & Communications Manager at Housing Rights Service. Below she describes her recent experiences of possession hearings at Laganside county court.

Sitting in Laganside county court, Belfast, on a Thursday morning listening to a stream of possession hearings made me confident of the need for a pre-action protocol for non payment of rent in social housing. 

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Repossession, Social Tenancies, Landlord, Legal

Here at Housing Rights Service we do a lot of work helping tenants who live in social housing deal with rent arrears and housing benefit problems.  There are so many different aspects to advising someone in this situation that I thought it might be helpful to look at some of the most important elements of a rent arrears case.

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Repossession, Social Tenancies, Affordability, Adviser

Since 1997, Ricky Rowledge has been Director of the Council for the Homeless (NI), the sole umbrella body representing homelessness agencies throughout NI. She currently sits on a number of policy and practice working groups including the Northern Ireland Homelessness Strategy Steering Group, and the Promoting Social Inclusion working group on homelessness.

Below she describes what she would ask for if granted three wishes by the Housing Genie.

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Housing Genie

Ricky Rowledge, Director of Council for the Homeless NI, gives her opinion on the future plans for supported living.

One of the dubious advantages of having worked for so long in a single specialism is seeing long unresolved issues raise their head again - and again.

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Opinion

Homeless people are more likely to have their benefits sanctioned according to a report published by Homeless Link.

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Welfare Reform, Homelessness, Affordability

A recent case before the Upper Tribunal in England looked at the effective date for the backdating of Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI). SMI is a government scheme which provides assistance to homeowners facing problems meeting some of their housing costs.

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Case law, Affordability, Legal

Gas Safety Week runs from 16-22 September 2013. It aims to highlight the importance of gas safety and of keeping gas appliances in a safe working condition.

The week long campaign is co-ordinated by the Gas Safe Register and is supported by the gas industry including retailers, manufacturers, consumer bodies and the public.

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Social Tenancies, Private Tenancies, Landlord

A new type of payday loan, piloted by London Mutual Credit Union (LMCU), has been shown to be a viable and sustainable alternative to mainstream products.

The new style of product, which was funded by Barclays Community Finance Fund and Friends Provident Foundation, has just had the results of its evaluation published.

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Affordability

Chris McGrath, Solicitor at Housing Rights Service provides a comprehensive analysis of the Superstrike judgment and its impact in Northern Ireland

A recent UK court of appeal judgment concerning the protection of tenants' deposits when a tenancy becomes periodic has been the subject of much discussion.  This decision may impact on tenancy management practices in Northern Ireland.

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Private Tenancies, Landlord, Legal

The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) has announced that, from 1 November 2013, letting fees must be disclosed when advertising rental properties. The announcement followed a ruling made by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in March 2013.

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Private Tenancies, Landlord, Legal

A long awaited strategy to tackle the problem of empty properties has just been launched by the Department for Social Development (DSD). The Empty Homes Strategy and Action Plan 2013-2018 aims to bring the estimated 32,000 empty homes across NI into use.
Speaking about the new strategy, the DSD Minister, Nelson McCausland said:

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Private Tenancies, Policy, Homelessness

The Lord Chief Justice believes, in cases of social housing rent arrears, it would be helpful for all parties to be aware of the steps that the court will expect to be taken before starting court action. A draft pre-action protocol setting out these steps has been released for consultation.

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Repossession, Social Tenancies, Policy, Legal

The second annual Poverty in Northern Ireland report (August 2013) gives estimates of the proportion of children, working age adults and pensioners living in low income households during 2011-2012.

The report is based on information collected for the annual Family Resources Survey, which has been running since 2002.
Some of the key findings include:

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Affordability

New research confirms that there is a direct link between good housing and good health.

Based on the findings of the 2009 Northern Ireland House Condition Survey, the research shows:

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Social Tenancies, Private Tenancies