Having children or being pregnant means you have to think about your additional responsibilities when finding a home.
Will the property be suitable for kids? Do you need to be somewhere close to family or friends who can lend a hand when things get tough?
Staying with friends or family
You may want to or you may have to live on your own once you have children. However, if you’re a young parent and you don’t feel confident living on your own ask if you can stay with family or friends until you find your feet. This support can be a great help if you’re new to being a mum or dad.
Pregnancy and housing
Some people can't stay at their current home if they are pregnant. If you’re living in supported accommodation or in a hostel for young people, you may not be able to stay there once the baby is born. Talk to your support worker as early as possible. The support workers at your accommodation can help you find somewhere suitable to move to once the baby comes.
If you’re pregnant and you’re homeless or have nowhere to go, the Housing Executive may have a responsibility to help you. Speak to a housing adviser at Housing Rights if you’re not sure what to do.
Help from the Housing Executive
If you’re pregnant or you have children you’ll be seen as being in Priority Need and may be able to get assistance from the Housing Executive. The Housing Executive should check to see if it is legally responsible for providing you with housing and may have to provide you with temporary housing while it is investigating this. Contact the Housing Executive on 03448920 908 or speak to an advice agency like Housing Rights if you'd like to know more about your rights.
About a month after the assessment, the Housing Executive will write to you to explain if it has to help you with housing or not. Once you get this letter, it’s a good idea to get some advice from a housing advice charity like Housing Rights. If the Housing Executive agrees that it has to help you find housing an adviser can help you make sure you get as many points as you can.
If the Housing Executive doesn’t think it has to help it must explain why and you are legally allowed to ask a senior member of staff to look at the decision again. An adviser may be able to get the decision reversed but you need to make your request within 28 days of getting the original decision.
What happens if I have children who don't live with me all the time?
Where children split time between two or more homes, they will normally only be considered to be dependent on the person who claims Child Benefit for them. Any children who you get Child Benefit for will be counted as part of your household by the Housing Executive when deciding how big a property you need and will be included in your benefits claims.
But, if you have overnight access to children but you don't get Child Benefit for them
- they won't help you to pass the Priority Need test for homelessness help
- your children won't be taken into consideration when finding you suitable temporary housing
- Housing Benefit or Universal Credit won't include the cost of providing a room for your children in your help towards rent, and you may need to find extra help to pay your rent
The Housing Executive and housing association will allow you one extra bedroom if your children sometimes stay with you, but you don't get any Child Benefit for them.
Help in an emergency
It’s not safe for you or your children to sleep on the streets so if you’ve nowhere to go get help immediately. Call Housing Rights on 028 9024 5640 or the Housing Executive on 03448 920 908 and explain that you have nowhere to go and this is an emergency.
Private landlords need a court order to evict tenants and can't just kick you out on the streets, even if you've not paid rent or have broken the terms of your agreement. Call your local council to report your landlord if he or she tries to kick you out of your home or call Housing Rights on 028 9024 5640. Illegal eviction is a criminal offence and your landlord could be prosecuted.