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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Housing benefit

Almost everyone who lives in a property in Northern Ireland has to pay rates. Rates pay for services throughout Northern Ireland; like schools, hospitals and roads; and for services in your local area; like bin collection, parks and leisure centres. The amount you pay depends on the value of your property and which council area it is in. You can get help to pay your rates if you're on a low income or receiving certain benefits.

You could lose your home if you don’t pay your rent. Your landlord, whether it’s the Housing Executive or a housing association will have to follow the proper procedure before this happens. Part of this procedure is to work with you to try to sort out the problem.

Private tenants can apply for extra housing benefit if the amount they are getting doesn't cover their rent. This is known as a discretionary housing payment. The Housing Executive decides whether you are entitled to extra benefit and how much you should get.

Every tenant has a right to apply for housing benefit. However, most students at university or college are not entitled to it, unless they fall into certain categories.

If you had safe and secure accommodation before going into custody you should try to keep it, if possible, while you’re in prison.

If you’ve been receiving benefits you’ll need to let the social security office know that you’re going into prison.

Protected tenants who claim housing benefit will only receive £1 per week from the Housing Executive. Your landlord cannot ask you to pay any additional money on top of this, unless the landlord can prove to the Housing Executive that the tenancy is not, in fact, protected.

You may not want to inform your landlord or mortgage lender that you're in prison, but you have to keep them informed.

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