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When everyone has a home

Housing and debt helpline for Northern Ireland – 028 9024 5640

November 2015

James is 20 years old and a very vulnerable young adult. He spent time in care growing up, and has struggled with mental health issues in his life.

James had a tenancy with a housing association, but unfortunately experienced intimidation, threats and antisocial behavior at the property.  He became frightened to stay there and ended up staying with his Aunt, where he felt safe. 

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Social Tenancies, Homelessness

Carmel Ferguson, Housing Rights solicitor, looks at the case of Samuels v Birmingham City Council, in which a homeless applicant challenged the local authority's decision that she was intentionally homeless because she had been evicted from a previous property due to rent arrears.  The original decision maker had felt that Ms Samuels's rent was affordable when compared with her income.

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Benefits, Homelessness, Case law, Legal

Our Community Housing Advice Partnership recently received a call from a support worker at MACS. MACS is an organisation that helps young people who haven't had a fair deal.  This particular call from MACS was about Paul, a vulnerable 20 year old who currently had nowhere permanent to live. 

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Social Tenancies, Homelessness, Adviser

In 2013, Northern Ireland followed the rest of the UK in introducing a statutory tenancy deposit scheme. The aim of the Scheme is to protect tenants’ deposits through an independent Scheme Provider.

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Private Tenancies, Policy, Landlord

Representatives from the Private Tenants’ Forum were delighted to speak at Housing Rights’ recent conference on the private rented sector ‘Fit for the Future?’

Tracey McKeating and Brigitte Anton spoke to the conference about their experiences in the private rented sector and what encouraged them to join the Forum. They also spoke about their achievements to date, including:

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Private Tenants Forum

A roundup of recent housing related questions asked in the Assembly. The topics covered include:

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NI Assembly

We had over 90 delegates attend our Private Rented Conference on Tuesday 17th November. The timely conference aimed to open up debate on how to ensure the Northern Ireland private rented sector is fit for purpose.

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Private Tenants Forum, Private Tenancies

With the Department for Social Development currently seeking feedback on its plans for the future of the private rented sector, now is a good time to review some of the contributions from the conference we held last week.  A number of expert speakers raised issues which may help inform your response to the discussion document. 

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Regulation, Private Tenancies, Policy

The Northern Ireland Executive has agreed to allocate a total of £585million from Executive funds over four years to mitigate the impacts of welfare reform.  Eileen Evason, Emeritus Professor in social administration at the University of Ulster, will chair a working group which will develop proposals on how best to use these additional resources. 

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Benefits, Welfare Reform, Policy, NI Assembly

The latest NI Housing Statistics for 2014-15 have been released. They look at a range of topics including the figures for the supply of housing, social rented, private rented and owner occupied accommodation.

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Policy

Days ahead of our private rented conference ‘Fit for the Future?’, the Minister for Social Development, Mervyn Storey MLA, has launched a landmark review into the future of the private rented sector.  Housing Rights welcomes the publication of the review

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Private Tenants Forum, Private Tenancies, Policy

The 2015 Summer Budget contained proposals to reduce the time frame for backdating payments from six months to just four weeks and to cut the family premium from housing benefit in order to bring housing benefit in line with universal credit.  

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Benefits, Outside NI, Welfare Reform

Last Thursday Housing Rights provided evidence to the Social Development Committee on the Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Bill currently making its way through the Assembly. You can watch the Committee meeting which includes evidence on the HMO bill from Housing Rights, NICEM and a number of residents groups on the Committee's YouTube channel. 

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Private Tenancies, Policy, NI Assembly

Housing Rights are delighted to be partnering with M&S and Shelter through their Christmas “Food on the Move” range.

M&S will donate 5% of the cover price of the items purchased locally to Housing Rights.  This will assist us keep people in their homes and help them with their housing problems

A few months back we received a call from a very distressed young woman.  Louise had been assaulted by her partner.  She was 12 weeks pregnant at the time of the assault.

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Homelessness, Adviser

We asked a few of the speakers at our Conference on the 17 November

"If you could make one change to ensure that the private rented sector in NI is Fit for the Future, what would it be?"

Housing Rights’ Antisocial Behaviour course will run for a second time on 2 December 2015. The first took place on the 9th September in Belfast. The sold out course was a huge success with participants.

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Regulation, Social Tenancies, Private Tenancies, Legal