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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Shortfall

There are a few key steps you need to take to deal with your debts effectively. A charity that provides debt advice can often help you with this.

Your tenants are obliged to keep their rental accounts up to date. If a tenant is late with rent or hasn't paid in full, you should contact them to find out what has happened.

The amount of benefits tenants get towards rent will not always match up to the amount of rent you charge. Instead, the amount of benefit paid depends on the size of the claimant's household, their personal circumstances and the area in which they live.

You must pay rent to your landlord in return for living in the property. If you stop paying your rent, are late with a payment or do not pay in full, your landlord may begin eviction proceedings against you.

If you are on a low income, you may be entitled to benefits to help you pay your rent. Most people who rent privately have their entitlement to benefit worked out under a system called Local Housing Allowance.

Almost everyone will experience difficulties paying their bills at some point. If you are worried about falling into arrears or missing a payment of rent, you should talk to your landlord about the problem. Free debt advice is available from a variety of local advice agencies.

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. 

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.

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.

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