Don’t stay in your home if you don’t feel safe. If you or your home has been attacked tell the police. The Housing Executive might have to find you somewhere else to live if it’s not reasonable for you to stay in your home. You can get 200 points if you meet the Housing Executive’s criteria for intimidation, but not everyone who has been threatened will get these points.
Attacked in your home
Contact the police if you’ve been attacked or threatened or if your home has been attacked. To get help from the Housing Executive you’ll need to provide evidence of the attack and this will usually have to be a police report.
If it’s not safe to stay in your home the Housing Executive may have to provide you with temporary housing or you might have to find crisis accommodation. You can get 200 points if you meet the Housing Executive’s criteria for intimidation, but not everyone who has been threatened will get these points. They will only be given where the police or certain other organisations confirms that there is a risk that you will be killed or your home will be destroyed because of a threat against you.
Emergency rehousing grant
You may be entitled to a grant to help with the cost of furnishing a new tenancy if you have been awarded intimidation points. This grant will only be paid if you have lost a tenancy as a result of the intimidation and will be paid when you accept an offer of social housing or you are not on the social housing waiting list and move into a privately rented home or a home that you have purchased. The grant of £754 will be offset against any money that you owe to the Housing Executive.
You will not get this grant if you were intimidated from temporary housing.
Help for homeowners who can’t remain in their homes
The Housing Executive will sometimes buy properties from homeowners if they have been given intimidation points. This is called the Scheme for the Purchase of Evacuated Dwellings.
To apply for SPED you have to meet these criteria:
- the property is your only or main home
- the PSNI confirms that it is unsafe for you or a member of your household to continue living in the house because either you or a person who lives with you has been directly or specifically threatened or intimidated and is at risk of serious injury or death as a result.
You’ll need to give the Housing Executive a special certificate signed by the Chief Constable of the PSNI which confirms the threat. This flowchart explains how the Housing Executive decides who qualifies for this scheme.
If you’re accepted, Land & Property Services will decide what the current market value of your home is. Your property will probably be sold by the Housing Executive on the open market, but it may be purchased by a housing association if there is a particular need for that type of property. Get an application form for SPED by writing to Land & Property Central Unit, NIHE, The Housing Centre, 2 Adelaide Street, Belfast, BT2 8PB or by calling 028 9598 2426 . If you have any problems applying for SPED, get in touch with an adviser at Housing Rights.
Harassment by private landlords
Harassing a tenant is illegal. If you feel that your landlord is harassing you, contact the Environmental Health Department of your local council.
Your landlord has to follow due process of law when evicting you and can’t interfere with utilities, locks or your personal belongings to try to force you out.
Problems with housemates
Sharing a house; whether it’s with family, friends or strangers, can be difficult. If you run into a problem try discussing it among yourselves first. If this doesn’t solve problems you could ask someone independent, such as your landlord, to mediate. If you’ve been threatened or abused by someone you live with you should contact the police, especially if you’re worried that they’ll do it again.
Antisocial behaviour and disputes with neighbours can cause huge amounts of stress and can make it feel like you can’t stay in your home. If your landlord or the landlord of the person who is bothering you is the Housing Executive or a housing association, you may be able to get help dealing with the problem from that landlord.
Private landlords don’t have to take any action to deal with anti-social tenants. If you’re being harassed by private tenants you may have to contact the police to get help.
You can get points on the selection scheme for harassment, threats & intimidation even if the incidents don’t meet the Housing Executive’s standard for intimidation, but the number of points you will get is much lower, a maximum of 20 points. If the behaviour is making it unreasonable to stay in your home you should apply to the Housing Executive for help as a homeless person. You might also be able to get Management Transfer status to make you a priority for social housing transfers.