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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Rent

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

Universal credit is rolling out across Northern Ireland. Since December 2018 any working age person making a new claim for social security assistance will claim universal credit instead of some of the current benefits, including Housing Benefit.

 

You have to pay rent to your landlord. When you’re offered a Housing Executive or housing association property you should be told how much the weekly rent is.

Your Universal Credit is normally paid directly to your landlord, but you can ask for it to be paid to you instead. If you get Housing Benefit, you can choose whether you want the money paid to you, to the landlord or to the estate agent. 

Housing benefit is a social security benefit which helps people on low income with their housing costs. It can cover rent, rates and some service charges. There are different systems for working out housing benefit for social tenants, who rent from the Housing Executive or housing associations, and for private tenants, who rent from a private landlord or agent. 

 

The amount of housing benefit that is paid to single people aged under 35 who rent privately is often restricted. There are some exemptions that apply.

Universal credit is rolling out across Northern Ireland. Since December 2018 any working age person making a new claim for social security assistance will claim universal credit instead of some of the current benefits, including Housing Benefit.

 

You may be able to challenge or appeal a housing benefit decision if you think it is wrong or unfair. This can be a complicated process so it's best to get help from an advice agency.

If you're renting a property as part of a group, you need to pay close attention to the tenancy agreement. The wording on this agreement can control what happens if one of the group moves out. In some cases, the rest of the tenants can be made responsible for paying the extra rent as well as any rent that the former tenant hasn't paid.

You'll need to establish a level of rent that is both attractive to tenants and covers your own expenditure on the property. When setting rents you should be realistic and remember that letting a property at a slightly reduced rent is more favourable than it sitting vacant on the market.

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