When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Challenging a negative decision on homelessness or suitability of accommodation

You can ask for a review of certain decisions made by the Housing Executive.  

A review means that a more senior member of staff checks the original decision. They can 

  • agree with the original decision, or 
  • change the original decision.  

It's best to get an adviser to help you ask for a review.  

What decisions can be reviewed?

You can ask for a review if the Housing Executive decides 

You can also ask for the Housing Executive to review the suitability of some offers of housing. As long as you have passed the four homeless tests, you can use this process to  

  • argue that an offer of temporary housing is not suitable, or 
  • argue that an offer of permanent housing is not suitable.  

Other decisions by the Housing Executive can be challenged through the complaints procedure or a court case. Get advice if you want to challenge a decision the Housing Executive has made.  

When do you ask for a review?

The law says you must ask for your review within 28 days of the Housing Executive's decision.  

Check your decision letter carefully. It may give you more than 28 days to ask for a review.  

How do you ask for a review?

It's best to ask for the review in writing. But, if your deadline is soon, you should ask for the review by phone, then follow up with an email.  

Send a letter or email to your housing officer. You should 

  • explain that you want a review of the Housing Executive's decision 
  • ask for a copy of your housing file 
  • explain that you will be sending further information to support your case 
  • ask when the Housing Executive needs this information from you 
  • ask if you can stay in temporary housing if you are living in a temporary placement arranged by the Housing Executive 

Who can help you with your review?

Doing a review can be complicated. It is easier if someone who knows a lot about housing law can help you.  

Contact Housing Rights to see if our specialist advisers can help with your review.  

What information should you include in a review?

An adviser can help you decide what information should go in your review. You can include 

  • extra information or evidence about things the Housing Executive already knows 
  • information and evidence that you haven't shared with the Housing Executive before 
  • information about things that happened since the original decision. 

Remember to keep copies of everything you send to the Housing Executive. 

How long does it take to get a decision on your review?

The Housing Executive can take up to 8 weeks to make a decision.  

What happens after the review?

The person who does the review can 

  • change the original decision 
  • agree with the original decision 

The person should give you a chance to send more information or evidence to support your case if 

  • they think there was a problem with the investigation, but 
  • despite these problems they still think the original decision was correct.  

Get advice if the reviewing officer decides the original decision was correct. You may be able to take the case to court, but this is not always possible.  

Appealing to County Court

You can appeal some decisions at county court. The court can only hear a case on a point of law. This could be because 

  • the Housing Executive applied the law incorrectly, or  
  • the Housing Executive failed to do something it should have when investigating. 

You can't take an appeal just because you disagree with the Housing Executive's decision. There has to be a problem with how the Housing Executive followed the law on homelessness.    

You will need a solicitor to help you with an appeal. Get advice if you want to take the Housing Executive to court.