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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Homeowner

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

An area scheduled for redevelopment can contain properties owned privately or properties owned by housing associations or the Housing Executive. At least one third of the properties in a redevelopment area must be considered to be unfit for human habitation.

If you own a property you'll normally have to pay rates on it, even if the property is empty. You'll get a rates bill for the empty property automatically and you won't be entitled to an early payment discount. Some empty properties can be excluded from the rating system. It's worth checking to see if you can apply for an exclusion.

Taking action to repossess a property involves a number of stages, which can take a few weeks or months. You may be able to stop the process at any stage, so get advice immediately and keep negotiating with your lender.

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

You may be entitled to compensation if you have to leave your home because the area its based in is scheduled to be redeveloped. Homeowners will be paid the current market value for their home and you might also be entitled to compensation for the disturbance. The Housing Executive should rehouse you if you can no longer live in your home because it is in a redevelopment area.

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.

You’ll normally apply for a mortgage after you’ve had an offer accepted on a property. Mortgage offers usually last for 6 months. If the sale hasn’t completed within that time you may need to reapply.

If you are a homeowner, you can only be evicted if the court makes an order telling you to leave. This section explains what happens once your lender has applied to the court to evict you.

Squatters are people who occupy and live in a property despite having no legal right to live there. It’s not a realistic housing option because squatters can easily be evicted.

If you already have a mortgage, you may want to switch to a different mortgage or a different lender to get a better deal. This may save you money, and it may be possible to arrange temporary or long term changes. You should check your mortgage agreement to see whether you would have to pay redemption fees.

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