When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Finding a new home

If your home is repossessed you will need to find somewhere else to live. If you lost your home because of debt problems it may be more difficult to find a place to rent or buy.

Housing options

You may be able to stay with family or friends for a while, but will also need to find long-term accommodation that you can afford. This could mean finding a privately rented property or renting a home from the Housing Executive or a housing association.  It's important that you read up on your housing options and know your rights if you haven't been a tenant before. 

Buying another property

You may find it more difficut to get another mortgage because your credit rating will have been adversely affected by the repossession. You'll probably have to provide a larger than normal deposit, and may be charged higher than normal interest rates which can make the arrangement less affordable for you. If you no longer have an interest in any other property and you don't have any outstanding debt from your previous mortgage, you may also be able to buy a home through co-ownership.

Help from the Housing Executive

The Housing Executive has a legal duty to help some people who are homeless or about to lose their homes.  The rules on what sort of help the Housing Executive has to give you are complicated. Your rights will depends on your personal circumstances, but at the very least, the Housing Executive has to look into your situation and give you advice to help you find a home

Renting privately

The quality of privately rented accommodation varies widely. In some areas it may be possible to find a cheap place to move into quite quickly. In other areas it can be difficult to find anywhere, and your choices may be in poor condition.

Many private landlords run credit checks on prospective tenants. It can be difficult to find a landlord who will rent to you if your home was repossessed because of mortgage arrears. 

Renting from the Housing Executive or a housing association

You must apply for a Housing Executive or housing association house using the selection scheme. Some people, including most people from abroad, are not eligible to apply. 

In some areas there is a lot of accommodation available, but in other areas you may have little realistic hope of being offered a place at all. You will probably need to look at other options, such as renting from a private landlord, especially if you need to move quickly.

Your credit rating

If you have a history of debt problems you will often find it difficult to get a tenancy or mortgage. Landlords will usually check your credit history with credit reference agencies such as Experian and Equifax. Most mortgage lenders will also check the 'possessions register' operated by UK Finance, formerly the Council for Mortgage Lenders, which gives information about repossessions by any its members during the last six years.

You can write to the credit reference agency asking for a copy of the information they hold on you. You normally have to pay a small fee. Within seven days the agency should:

  • send you a copy of the information they hold on you, and 
  • information about how you can change the information if it is not correct.

If the agency refuses to change information that is incorrect, get advice. You may be able to complain to the Office of Information Commissioners.

If you are having difficulties finding somewhere else to leave after the repossession of your home, contact an advice agency such as Housing Rights