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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Homeowner

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

Selling a home that you and your former partner jointly own can be complicated. You'll usually need to get legal advice from a solicitor who can explain what will happen to the property.

Buying your own home is a huge financial commitment. It's important that you do your research and fully understand your options before you commit to anything. If you can't afford to pay the full purchase cost of a property you might be able to part buy and part rent the property with the help of Co-ownership Housing Association.

You will normally only be able to stop the repossession if you can pay the arrears off in a lump sum or in acceptable instalments. However, there are a few legal defences that could help your case.

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.

Certain people can apply for housing benefit and rate relief to help with rates. You can only make a new claim for this assistance if you are over pension age or get certain disability benefits. People who don't fit in these categories can get only get help with rates if they are receiving Universal Credit. 

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.

Estate agents and letting agents will often have their own complaints process. Many agents belong to a professional redress scheme which may be able to sort out problems if you're unhappy with the service you've been given by your agent.

You can be allowed to stay in your home after a repossession hearing. This may be because there wasn't a good enough reason to repossess the home or because the Master believed you should be allowed to stay to give you time to put the situation right.

Property sales are either on a leasehold or freehold basis. When you buy a freehold property you own the property and the land it sits on. If your property is a leasehold property you’ll have to pay an annual charge, known as ground rent, to the person who owns the freehold.

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