When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland


Temporary accommodation is given to people who don’t have a permanent home. The Housing Executive doesn’t have to arrange temporary accommodation for everyone but it does have to provide certain people with temporary accommodation.

Get advice immediately if you think you might become homeless. The Housing Executive has a legal responsibility to give you advice and information on homelessness or you can speak to our advisers at Housing Rights. With the right help, you may be able to stay in or return to your home.

If you're over 21 or you're over 18 and have no history of being in care, you should ask the Housing Executive for help if you are homeless or think you're going to be homeless soon. 

You must be habitually resident in Northern Ireland and have a right to reside in the UK in order to be eligible for assistance as a homeless person and in order to claim benefits, such as Housing Benefit and Universal Credit. You can also be found ineligible for help as a homeless person if you have been involved in antisocial behaviour. 

You will not be eligible for help if the Housing Executive decides you’ve been involved in unacceptable behaviour. Unacceptable behaviour is the type of behaviour that would make someone a bad tenant and covers actions carried out by you, by other people in your household and by visitors to your property. The Housing Executive will usually only consider behaviour in the past two years, when deciding if you have behaved in an unacceptable manner and are, as such, ineligible for help.

If you pass this test the Housing Executive will have to check that you are also homeless, in priority need and that you’re not intentionally homeless. You might be entitled to temporary accommodation while this is happening.

If you pass all 4 homeless tests you’ll be a Full Duty Applicant and the Housing Executive will have to make 3 reasonable offers of housing to you.

Sometimes people will come to another country because they feel that it is not safe or possible for them to stay in their own country, perhaps because of war or extreme poverty. Under a 1951 UN agreement, these people can seek asylum in the country they arrive in. When someone has asked another country for help in this way, they become an asylum seeker. 

The relevant agency in that country will then investigate this person’s circumstances to see if it is appropriate for that person to continue living in their home country. In the UK, this work is done by the Home Office. If the Home Office decides that it is not safe for someone to return to their own country, that person will become a refugee.

If you are not a citizen of an EEA country, you will only be eligible for help as a homeless person or for social security benefits if your immigration status allows this.

When a relationship fails you might not want to continue living together. Your rights to stay in your home often depend on whether you own or rent your home and what kind of tenant you are.

The Housing Executive will only have to help you if you couldn't have avoided becoming homeless. The Intentionality test looks at how you became homeless to see if you deliberately did something or failed to do something and that action caused your homelessness.. The other tests are priority need, homelessness and eligibility.


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