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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Homeowner

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.

You should only give back the keys to your property if you're absolutely sure that there's no way you can keep your home. Make sure you speak to an adviser at our Mortgage Debt Advice Service before you take this drastic step.

If you own your home, you bear the full responsibility when something goes wrong. Make sure you have sufficient insurance cover in place to protect your home and contents in case of strong winds, snow and ice. Making sure your home is insulated and heated can reduce the risk of water damage in your home during a bad winter.

If the money from the sale of your home isn't enough to cover your debts, you will still owe the outstanding amount to your lender or mortgage indemnity insurer.

You are usually responsible for carrying out any repairs or improvements once you have bought your home. It's very difficult to get grant approval from the Housing Executive to help you with the cost of repairs. These days, this type of grant will only be awarded if the Housing Executive believes the condition of the property is likely to cause a very real and very serious risk to the life of the person living in it.

If your current housing situation doesn't suit your needs it's natural to think you might have to move. But, with the right help and support, you may be able to continue living in your current home. While housing waiting lists are so long and renting privately can be expensive it's worth checking if you can do something practical to allow you to continue living where you are.

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.

Get advice as soon as possible if you can't pay. The Land & Property Services have a strict procedure for recovering rates arrears. There are strict time limits. If you contact your local Land & Property Services office, you may be able to negotiate a payment plan.

Moving can be stressful, complicated and expensive. Whether you’re moving in, moving on or moving out careful planning can make the process easier.

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