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When everyone has a home

Housing and debt helpline for Northern Ireland – 028 9024 5640

April 2015

The latest Northern Ireland Housing Bulletin shows that there has been a decrease of 26% in the number of homeless applicants being awarded the full duty homelessness status by the Housing Executive, compared to the previous quarter.

The Bulletin, which covers the period of October to December 2014, also shows an 18% (964) decrease in the number of households presenting as homeless to the Housing Executive, compared to the previous quarter.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders recently held an event in Belfast looking at the state of the local mortgage market. 

A range of expert speakers offered commentary on NI’s mortgage market from an economic, construction, valuation, lender and legal perspective.   Many of the presentations focused on the unique characteristics impacting the market locally such as:

The Private Tenants’ Forum is looking for new people to join.  If you are advising people who live in the private rented sector, why not encourage them to join the Private Tenants' Forum? The Forum provides a great opportunity for people to use their experience to make a positive change.

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Private Tenants Forum

The General Election is looming. We all know that there are important housing issues that need addressed by our local politicians on a local and national scale. We have a real disparity between the supply and demand of social housing, an ongoing problem with homelessness, a growing private rented sector that needs to be improved to make it a truly viable housing option and the highest levels of negative equity in the UK; to name but a few.

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Policy

Applicants who wish to review or appeal a negative homelessness decision must observe certain time limits.  These limits are set out in the Housing (Northern Ireland) Order 1988 (as amended). Carmel Ferguson, solicitor with Housing Rights Service, discusses our recent successful case at the High Court, where we were granted leave to lodge an appeal outside of these time limits.

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Practical tips, Homelessness, Case law, Legal

Housing Rights debt advisers have been nominated for the Debt Team of the Year at the Money Advice Awards in Manchester on the 6th May. Organised by the Institute of Money Advisers, the award ceremony's role is to celebrate excellence and reward good performance. The awards are open to everyone working in the free-to-client sector and covers both individuals and organisations who deliver money advice.

The Competition and Markets Authority issued guidance last year to help letting professionals comply with consumer law.  The guidance is aimed at anyone who is managing a rental property, whether they are an agent, an accidental landlord or a landlord with a large property portfolio.

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Private Tenancies, Practical tips, Landlord

A recent report from the London School of Economics claims that the government's Welfare Reform programme isn't working as planned.  The report finds that the savings promised by government have not materialised and that the costs of implementing changes have proven to be higher than predicted. 

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Benefits, Outside NI, Welfare Reform

Tenants should have a stronger role to play in how their landlord provides and develops their housing services, however, Housing Rights believes that participation should be available to more people; not just tenants. To ensure tenant participation is successful in Northern Ireland, there are a number of key points we believe that Government needs to consider.

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Regulation, Social Tenancies, Policy

Carmel Ferguson, Solicitor with Housing Rights, discusses a recent important Judicial Review taken against the London Borough of Southwark.  The JR, which was settled on the basis of a consent order, challenged the practices used by Southwark when approached by an applicant requesting housing assistance, claiming that these practices were unlawful.

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Homelessness, Case law, Legal

April of each year sees a number of uplifts and changes in benefit rates and rents.   We've updated Housing Law in Practice with details of the new rates, but you can also find links to this information below. 

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Benefits, Affordability

Rating liability in the private rented sector has long been a bone of contention.

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Affordability

The Joseph Rowtree Foundation 'Destitution in the UK' programme aims to provide evidence about the extent of destitution, what causes it and whether it has changed over recent years. It is the largest study of its kind ever undertaken in the UK.

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Equality, Affordability

A round up of housing related questions to Ministers during March 2015. 

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NI Assembly