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”.
Universal credit is rolling out across Northern Ireland. From 5 December 2018 most new claims for social security assistance will be for Universal Credit. You will only be able to make new claims for older benefits, such as Housing Benefit in limited circumstances. You can make and manage a Universal Credit claim online. The phone number for Universal Credit in Northern Ireland is 0800 012 1331
The government will start moving existing claimants of certain other benefits on to Universal Credit from 2019 and plans to finish this process by 2022.
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.
Most people need to apply for a mortgage when they’re buying a home. This is a long term loan from a bank or building society. The loan is secured on your home so if you stop paying the bank can repossess the property. You should speak to an independent financial adviser to find out which type of mortgage is best for you.
When a private tenant applies for housing benefit, the Housing Executive will normally calculate how much housing benefit that person will get based on the appropriate Local Housing Allowance rate. The Local Housing Allowance rate is almost always less than the amount of rent you actually have to pay. However, in certain circumstances, the Housing Executive can use a higher figure to work out how much housing benefit you are entitled to.