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When everyone has a home

Housing and debt helpline for Northern Ireland – 028 9024 5640

December 2013

From 1 January 2014 new restrictions will be placed on migrants’ entitlement to benefits.

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Benefits, Minority Groups, Legal

A packed conference held on 12 December in the Mac, Belfast, allowed delegates from tenants groups, social landlords and other agencies to discuss how housing provision can benefit from effective tenant involvement and empowerment.

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Social Tenancies, Policy, Landlord

Phil Morgan was Chief Executive of TPAS (England) for 10 years and developed the concept of tenant scrutiny. He then became Executive Director of Tenant Services at the Social Housing Regulator and cowrote the Regulatory Framework including the requirements on tenant scrutiny and involvement. Phil is currently an independent consultant, commentator and speaker.

Below he outlines his 3 housing related wishes.

1. Build more houses

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Housing Genie

Phil Morgan was Chief Executive of TPAS (England) for 10 years and developed the concept of tenant scrutiny. He then became Executive Director of Tenant Services at the Social Housing Regulator and cowrote the Regulatory Framework including the requirements on tenant scrutiny and involvement. Phil is currently an independent consultant, commentator and speaker.

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Social Tenancies, Opinion

From 1 January 2014 the UK’s transitional controls on citizens of Bulgaria and Romania (A2 countries) will come to an end. These controls have been in place since Bulgaria and Romania joined the European Union in 2007. The lifting of restrictions means that citizens from those countries will be able to access all of the labour market and will no longer be subject to a Worker Authorisation Scheme (the Scheme).

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Benefits, Minority Groups, Social Tenancies, Homelessness, Legal

Through its casework, Housing Rights Service has identified the many difficulties and issues relating to the management practice of letting agencies. We remain to be convinced that the many problems encountered with the lettings industry will be solved by simply encouraging letting agents and landlords to become better informed and equipped to comply with existing consumer protection legislation.

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Private Tenancies, Policy

The Minister for Social Development is seeking views on how social housing is allocated. As part of his housing strategy he commissioned independent research on this issue. The research carried out by the Universities of Ulster and Cambridge has just been published and provides independent recommendations on the future of social housing allocations in Northern Ireland.

Nicola McCrudden, our Policy Manager, provides her views on this important matter:

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Social Tenancies, Policy

The Department for Social Development (DSD) has just issued a consultation on a proposed Housing (Anti-Social Behaviour) Bill that would introduce short secure tenancies in Northern Ireland. Largely based on the Scottish short secure tenancy model, it is proposed that the new legislation would:

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Social Tenancies, Policy

Homelessness continues to be a significant challenge in Northern Ireland and a problem that afflicts the lives of many of local people.

According to DSD, “traditional responses to homelessness have focused on managing the impact of homelessness on individuals and families.. while this remains important, more needs to be done to prevent homelessness”. (DSD, Facing the Future: Housing Strategy for NI).

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Social Tenancies, Private Tenancies, Homelessness

Housing Rights Service solicitor, Carmel Ferguson, provides a round-up of some recent cases heard in the Chancery court in Belfast. They look specifically at the matter of repossession when a property is in negative equity and also the legal procedures to be followed when a lender takes action for possession.

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Legal