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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Housing Executive

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.

You can make a formal complaint if you are unhappy with a decision the Housing Executive has made or how the Housing Executive has treated you or your case. You need to use a different procedure to challenge a housing benefit decision, challenge a decision about your homelessness or appeal a decision to end your introductory tenancy.

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.

You have to tell your landlord if you decide to move out. You are responsible for paying rent until you formally end your tenancy.

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

Your Tenant’s Handbook should explain whether you or the Housing Executive is responsible for repairs.  Ask your local district office for a copy of the handbook if you don’t already have one.

You can only make a new claim for Housing Benefit if you are of pension age or if you are living in certain types of housing, such as supported housing or temporary housing. Most people who need to make a new claim for help to pay rent will have to claim Universal Credit. 

You have to pay rent to your landlord, whether that’s the Housing Executive, a housing association or a private landlord. When you’re offered a property you should be told how much the rent is and how much your rates and service charges are. If you're not given this information, make sure you ask for it before agreeing to take on a property.

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

You’ll be responsible for dealing with many of the repairing issues in your home. Tenants are responsible for decorating the inside of the property, including carpeting and flooring and you’ll also be responsible for looking after your garden. The Housing Executive will usually deal with any structural problems or faults with the heating, plumbing and electrical systems.

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