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When everyone has a home

Housing and debt helpline for Northern Ireland – 028 9024 5640

March 2015

An independent review of the Money Advice Service has recommended that the service take measures to improve the effectiveness and reach of its debt advice. 

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Money Matters, Outside NI, Affordability

Aine, a Housing Executive tenant, contacted Housing Rights Service when she received a letter which stated that she was being pursued for a housing benefit overpayment of £19,000.

The letter said that the Housing Executive believed, based on evidence it had received from the Social Security Agency, that Aine was living with a partner but had not declared this.  

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Benefits, Practical tips, Affordability, Adviser

Housing Rights is piloting a new service that aims to prevent homelessness amongst people leaving prison by continuing to support these people beyond the prison gates.  We are very grateful to the NI Housing Executive for providing us with the funding to run this service, known as “Beyond the Gate”.

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Minority Groups, Homelessness

On 15th April TDSNI will be delivering a seminar on the tenancy deposit dispute process, helping you understand how adjudicators make their decisions. Here are a few key principles of deposit disputes to keep in mind, before referring a case for adjudication.

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Private Tenancies, Practical tips

Housing Rights works to improve lives by tackling homelessness and housing problems in Northern Ireland. Last year, Housing Rights helped people in Northern Ireland with over 41,000 housing issues. 

A few of our clients agreed to share their story and the impact our work had on them. Watch the short film to hear from;

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Homelessness

Supreme Court judges have criticised the benefit cap.  The Supreme Court found that the policy failed to comply with Article 3 (1) of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.  This article provides that “in all actions concerning children … the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration”. 

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Benefits, Welfare Reform, Legal

The Department for Social Development has published its consultation on the future regulation of the social rented sector. This is the second in a series of consultations which form part of the Social Housing Reform Programme. Other areas still to be consulted on are:

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Regulation, Social Tenancies, Policy

Deposit protection was introduced in Northern Ireland in 2013 with the stated intention of providing "assurances for tenants and protection for landlords helping to minimise long drawn out legal proceedings and disputes".

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Private Tenancies, Practical tips

The Private Tenants' Forum has been recognised for its achievements at the recent Housing Awards by winning the ‘More than Bricks and Mortar' award.

Members of the Private Tenants' Forum attended the award ceremony in Belfast City Hall on Friday 27 March 2015.

Jan Branch, one of the founding members, explains what it means to the Forum to win this award

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Private Tenants Forum

Over 80 delegates attended a conference held in Belfast on the 5th March, aimed to help stimulate ideas and discussion for those who want input into the Department for Social Development’s (DSD) consultation “A Tenant Participation Strategy for Northern Ireland: 2015-2020”. 

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Social Tenancies, Policy

Social Development Minister, Mervyn Storey MLA, has announced that he is increasing funding to the Mortgage Debt Advice Service, provided by Housing Rights, by 50%.

The increase in funding will enable Housing Rights to provide valuable support to more people who are in mortgage crisis and further help reduce the risk of people facing homelessness and repossession.

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Repossession

On the 9th March, Housing Rights celebrated 50 years of service at a recent Stormont event, hosted by Junior Minister Jennifer McCann MLA. Mervyn Storey MLA, Minister for Social Development also attended the celebration.

The event had over 100 guests, who have had links with Housing Rights in some way in the past and at the moment.

Despite parties reaching broad agreement on welfare reform as part of the Stormont House agreement in December, Sinn Fein lodged a petition of concern yesterday.  The petition, also supported by the SDLP, effectively blocks further passage of the bill through the Assembly. 

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Welfare Reform, NI Assembly

We've rounded up some of the reaction to last week's conference for those of you who were unable to make it. 

 

 

You can download speakers' presentations, notes from workshops and the launch of research into involving easy to ignore groups will be launched at the end of March. 

 

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Regulation, Social Tenancies, Policy

Carmel Ferguson, Solicitor with Housing Rights Service, casts her eye over a recent Chancery case, Saverese v Fraser Homes Ltd 2014 [2015] NICh 2, where a tenant of a commercial lease took action against his landlord for

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Case law, Landlord, Legal

The Boiler Replacement Scheme, which was due to end on 31 March 2015, has received a fresh injection of funding, meaning it will now run until March 2016.   Since launching in 2012. the scheme has helped to replace boilers in 18,500 homes.  The scheme is available to homeowners who earn less than £40,000 annually and have an old, inefficient boiler.

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Fitness, Affordability

We've rounded up some of the questions answered by Social Development Minister Mervyn Storey during February.  The Minister's answers can be found below each question. You can use the Assembly's website to search for more questions and answers. 

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Policy, NI Assembly