Social Security benefit decisions made on or after Monday 23rd May will be subject to a new challenge and appeal process.
Where previously, a claimant could proceed straight to tribunal when challenging a benefits decision, from 23rd May the claimant must first have their decision reconsidered by the relevant body. This is referred to as “mandatory reconsideration.”
Landlord licensing is set to be introduced for HMOs in Northern Ireland following the Assembly’s passing of the Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) Bill. The Bill is currently awaiting Royal assent.
Although not solely focused on private rented properties, the HMO Bill is seen as a key component in improving regulation and standards within the sector. It is hoped the Bill will provide better protection for tenants living in houses of multiple occupation.
Housing Rights provides the only Housing Possession Court Duty Scheme in Northern Ireland. These court desks schemes, which are more commonly seen in England, provide free legal representation to homeowners and tenants who are in court for possession hearings and risk being made homeless because of housing debt.
Advice and representation at court can make all the difference as this recent example illustrates.
Carmel Ferguson, solicitor with Housing Rights, recently assisted an elderly couple who had been missold a mortgage. Housing Rights first assisted the couple at court as part of our Housing Possession Court Duty Scheme. The adviser at court represented Patrick and Mary at court before asking Carmel and our legal team to look into the case in further detail.
Helm Housing Association and Fold Housing have announced plans to merge. If approved, the merger will take effect in 2017 and will see the formation of a new organisation This new association will become the largest housing association in Northern Ireland with a stock of 12,000 homes and a staff of over 1,000 individuals.