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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Homeowner

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

You may be eligible for a grant if you own a property that has been flooded or is in a known flood risk area. This grant will allow homeowners to install physical barriers and equipment to help reduce the impact of flooding on their homes.

Housing benefit is a social security benefit which helps people on low income with their housing costs. It can cover rent, rates and some service charges. There are different systems for working out housing benefit for social tenants, who rent from the Housing Executive or housing associations, and for private tenants, who rent from a private landlord or agent. 

 

Your lease will outline whether the freeholder has any responsibility for repairs. If you own a leasehold flat the freeholder may be responsible for repairs to the structure of the building, or shared areas. If you own a leasehold house it is unlikely that your freeholder will be responsible for repairs.

You need to understand your debts in order to deal with them properly. You need to prioritise your debts, figure out what you owe and to whom and work out how much you can afford to pay towards these debts. This means you'll need a good understanding of your financial situation and setting yourself a household budget.

If your home is repossessed you will need to find somewhere else to live. If you lost your home because of debt problems it may be more difficult to find a place to rent or buy.

It's essential that you get help and advice if you're struggling to pay your mortgage. The sooner you start dealing with your mortgage debts, the more options you'll usually have. If you ignore the problem it becomes harder to manage and you could end up losing your home.

The key aspect of budgeting is being honest and realistic, whether you’re listing your income or your outgoings. A financial statement, containing a listing of your income and expenditure, is a starting point for dealing with debt and making a sustainable repayment proposal.

When your home is repossessed it is usually sold to pay off your debts. This will also happen if you hand over the keys to your home voluntarily. The money you get may not be enough to cover everything you owe.

Many builders provide structural guarantees for the first ten years after you buy your home. If any structural problems develop within that time, you won't have to pay for the repairs.

You can be asked to appear at court if you fall behind on your mortgage. Getting a summons to appear in court doesn't mean that you'll lose your home. There are a number of decisions that the judge at court can make. Our advisers at Housing Rights may be able to represent you at your court hearing.

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