Many problems can be resolved by talking to someone at the Housing Executive. When this doesn't sort out the problem you can use the Housing Executive's formal complaints procedure. There are two stages to the complaints procedure. If you're not happy with the outcome of the formal complaint you might be able to ask the Ombudsman to look at your complaint or even take a Judicial Review against the housing association.
If you fall behind on your rent, the Housing Executive or housing association can take steps to end your tenancy and evict you. Your landlord will need to get a court order before you'll have to leave the property and this will always be a last resort. Your landlord should try to sort the situation out with you before it starts legal action.
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.
Because of the shortage of social housing some people will wait a very long time before they get offered a property. You could have a long wait, even if you passed the 4 homeless tests and are legally homeless.
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.
Once you've been a tenant for 5 years you may be able to buy your home. The amount of discount you'll get increases depending on how long you've lived in the property. Some property types can't be bought because they are difficult to come by and needed for social housing stock.