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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Rates

The law sets out who is legally responsible for rates. If you're responsible for paying rates you should try to pay these directly to Land & Property Services or make sure that your landlord is passing on your rates payments to Land & Property Services

Certain people can apply for housing benefit and rate relief to help with rates. You can only make a new claim for this assistance if you are over pension age or get certain disability benefits. People who don't fit in these categories can get only get help with rates if they are receiving Universal Credit. 

Get advice as soon as possible if you can't pay. The Land & Property Services have a strict procedure for recovering rates arrears. There are strict time limits. If you contact your local Land & Property Services office, you may be able to negotiate a payment plan.

If you qualify for the Disabled Person's Allowance or the Lone Pensioner Allowance you will get a discount on your rates bill.

A set of rules is used to work out how much help private tenants can get with their rent. These rules are known as Local Housing Allowance and are used by Universal Credit and Housing Benefit.  The LHA rules have been used since April 2008. Almost all private tenants have their rent help worked out under this system, but there are a few exceptions. 

If you are paying off a mortgage and you are on remand, you may be able to get help with your repayments. You'll only get help towards the interest on your mortgage and you'll only get help for a certain amount of time.

The amount of benefits you will get depends on your personal circumstances, such as your income and savings, the size of your household and the area you live/wish to live in.

If you own a property you'll normally have to pay rates on it, even if the property is empty. You'll get a rates bill for the empty property automatically and you won't be entitled to an early payment discount. Some empty properties can be excluded from the rating system. It's worth checking to see if you can apply for an exclusion.

Rates can cause a huge headache for landlords and tenants. Make sure you understand who is responsible for paying these from the outset.

If your property is still subject to a mortgage or secured loan, you are responsible for ensuring those payments are up to date. You should clearly explain to your tenant who is liable for rates payments and keep your rates account up to date if it is your legal responsibility to do so.

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