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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Housing Association

Almost everyone who lives in a property in Northern Ireland has to pay rates. Rates pay for services throughout Northern Ireland; like schools, hospitals and roads; and for services in your local area; like bin collection, parks and leisure centres. The amount you pay depends on the value of your property and which council area it is in. You can get help to pay your rates if you're on a low income or receiving certain benefits.

Vesting, or compulsory development, happens when the government buys up all the properties in an area that is rundown. When an area is selected for vesting the Housing Executive will

  • buy all the properties in the area from their owners and
  • redevelop the area for use as social housing

Owners will get the market price for the property. They can't refuse to sell their homes to the Housing Executive. 

You are entitled to 3 reasonable offers of accommodation. When you get an offer you'll have an opportunity to view the property. Your offer letter should explain how much you'll have to pay for the property.

You normally have to be living in a property in order to claim and receive housing benefit. However, in certain circumstances you may be able to claim for a property that you're not actually living in. The length of time that you can claim for depends on why you can't live in the property.

Your social tenancy can end if

  • your landlord evicts you
  • your landlord decides you aren't living in the property and takes it back, or
  • you end your own tenancy

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.

When you rent from the Housing Executive or a housing association, your landlord has certain responsibilities. 

You can add someone else to your tenancy. But, you need your landlord's permission to do this and your landlord can refuse in some circumstances. You don't have to add people who live with you to your tenancy.

Secure Housing Executive (NIHE) and housing association tenants can apply for a transfer to a different NIHE or housing association property. 

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.

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