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When everyone has a home

Housing and debt helpline for Northern Ireland – 028 9024 5640

February 2015

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An important question to be considered in respect of landlord and tenant law is whether a landlord can seek recovery of all the rent due under a tenancy i.e the remaining fixed term period, when a tenancy is brought to an end early.  As solicitor Chris McGrath explains, the landlord’s right to unpaid rent depends on how the tenancy ended.

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Money Matters, Private Tenancies, Case law, Landlord, Legal

Phil Buckle Director generalElectrical Safety First is a campaigning charity dedicated to preventing deaths, injuries and damage caused by electricity.

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Fitness, Private Tenancies, Opinion

Set up in 2012 by Housing Rights, the Private Tenant’s Forum is a group of volunteers who advocate for changes in policy and legislation that will improve conditions for everyone living in the Private Rented Sector.  The forum has now been nominated for 'More than Bricks and Mortar' award in this year's Housing Awards.

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Private Tenants Forum, Private Tenancies

The Welfare Reform Bill has been the subject of much discussion at the Assembly of late. During the Bill's consideration and further consideration stages a number of amendments were tabled. The majority of these amendments did not pass as they did not have cross community support.   The amended bill includes a duty on the Department for Social Devlopment to "ensure availability of advice and assistance" although an amendment to ensure that this advice was independent was negatived.

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Benefits, Welfare Reform, NI Assembly

Our adviser recently helped a client who had left her previous employment due to constructive dismissal and whose claim for housing benefit was rejected as the decision maker felt that she was not “involuntarily unemployed”.

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Benefits, Money Matters, Practical tips, Adviser

The latest Northern Ireland Housing Bulletin shows that there has been a significant increase of 31% in the number of homeless applicants being awarded the full duty homelessness status by the Housing Executive,

The Bulletin, which covers the period of July to September 2014, also shows an 8% (408) increase in the number of households presenting as homeless to the Housing Executive, compared to the previous quarter.

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Homelessness

New legislation will alter the rating discounts available to landlords who pay rates in a lump sum. 

Article 20 and 21 of the Rates (Northern Ireland) Order 1977 allow certain landlords to avail of a discount on their annual rates bill if all rates due on their rental properties are paid in a lump sum by the end of September each year.    Landlords who wish to avail of these discounts have to create either an Article 20 or an Article 21 account with Land & Property Services. 

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Private Tenancies, Landlord

The latest NI Repossession statistics have been published by the Courts and Tribunal Service, showing a welcome fall in cases reaching court.  The report shows statistics for October – December 2014.

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Private Tenants Forum

“Supporting households to reduce debt is not only important for those individuals and their families but will be at the heart of a functional housing market and prosperous economy.” Housing Repossessions Taskforce, Final Report, February 2015

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Repossession, Policy

Christine Liddell is Professor of Psychology and Distinguished Community Fellow at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland. She has recently co-authored an evidence based audit titled Fuel Poverty in Northern Ireland's Private Sector. 

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Private Tenancies, Policy, Affordability

The Welfare Reform Bill will be subject to scrutiny in the Assembly next week.  The Social Development Committee will meet on Monday morning for a departmental briefing on the bill from Ms Anne McCleary and Mr Michael Pollock from the Department for Social Development.

Mervyn Storey, Minister for Social Development, will reintroduce the Bill to the Assembly for consideration stage on the 10 February.  

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Benefits, Welfare Reform, NI Assembly

With Welfare Reform back on the Assembly’s agenda, we look at one of the biggest housing welfare changes; the extension of the Shared Accommodation Rate (SAR) of Local Housing Allowance (LHA) to applicants aged under 35.  Ursula Toner explains which young tenants should be entitled to the one bedroom rate of LHA because they are exempt from the SAR.

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Benefits, Private Tenancies, Welfare Reform, Affordability