When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Coronavirus advice for students

If you need advice to help you deal with a specific problem, please contact our helpline. 

Dealing with arrears from an old tenancy

Get advice if you left your last tenancy early because of COVID-19. Legally, landlords can hold tenants responsible for rent that was missed because the tenant left the property early. The best way around this is to try to negotiate a settlement with your landlord. Our mediation service may be able to help.

Struggling to pay rent

Students often rely on part-time jobs to help them pay rent. It's much harder to find a job at the moment because of restrictions on sectors that typically employ students, such as bars and restaurants.

Contact your college or university's welfare team if you are struggling to pay rent or other bills. 

Most universities and colleges have their own student welfare and student hardship funds. You can apply to this for help to pay rent if you are struggling to do so as a result of the current crisis. 

Discretionary support

There is a discretionary support fund for Northern Ireland. Students can't normally access this fund. However, the Minister for Communities is treating the current crisis as an emergency or disaster situation, which means that students can apply for assistance from this fund as long as their income is low. 

You can apply online or by calling 0800 587 2759

Access to benefits

Full-time students can only access benefits in very limited circumstances. You may be able to get help to pay your rent, and with other living costs, by applying for Universal Credit. Universal Credit will only help with rent if you are still living in the property you are renting. You may be able to get help if you

  • are under 21, you have no parental support and you are not doing an advanced course of education
  • are receiving certain disability benefits
  • are responsible for a child
  • are living with a partner who can claim Universal Credit
  • have reached state pension credit age and are living with a partner who has not reached that age. 

Shared housing

It's common for students to live in shared housing. Under the lockdown rules for COVID-19 the people you live with count as your household. You can only mix with other households in limited circumstances, and can't have people from other households enter your home. You can keep up to date with COVID-19 regulations and restrictions at NIDirect. 

Contact your landlord if you have concerns about another person in your household who is causing a risk as a result of their behaviour. HMO landlords should have anti-social behaviour plans in place setting out how they deal with such complaints.

Get advice

Talking to someone about your problems usually helps. If you want to talk about any of these issues or have a totally different housing problem, please contact our helpline.