The bedroom tax is a reduction in Housing Benefit for people who live in a property that is owned by NIHE or a housing association and that is too large for their household. Its proper name is the “social sector size criteria”, but most people call it the “bedroom tax”.
It can be difficult to gather up a deposit as well as a month's rent in advance. There are a few places that may agree to provide your landlord with a guarantee or work out a payment plan, allowing you to pay off your deposit in installments.
Most people who need to start claiming benefits will now claim Universal Credit. You can make and manage a Universal Credit claim online. The phone number for Universal Credit in Northern Ireland is 0800 012 1331
Buying your own home is a huge financial commitment. It's important that you do your research and fully understand your options before you commit to anything. If you can't afford to pay the full purchase cost of a property you might be able to part buy and part rent the property with the help of Co-ownership Housing Association.
Once you’ve found a property you like you’ll need to make an offer, arrange a mortgage and appoint a solicitor to help you complete the process. There are a lot of hidden costs when you’re buying a house and it can be a long and sometimes frustrating process. You’ll be asked to pay various fees and charges and you need to budget for these.
You have to pay rent to your landlord, whether that’s the Housing Executive, a housing association or a private landlord. When you’re offered a property you should be told how much the rent is and how much your rates and service charges are. If you're not given this information, make sure you ask for it before agreeing to take on a property.
Utility costs can be hard to budget for, particularly if you get a bill rather than using a pay as you go meter. You can switch your utility supplier if you can get a better deal elsewhere. There are lots of comparison websites about that can help you decide if switching supplier can save you money.