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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Advice for Housing Association tenants

Advice for housing association tenants
Advice for Housing Association tenants

Housing Association tenants may be introductory tenants or secure tenants.  You'll be an introductory tenant for your first 12 months as a tenant of a social landlord, like the Housing Executive or a housing association.  If there haven't been any problems with your tenancy during that 12 month period you'll become a secure tenant and have much stronger legal rights.  It's important that you understand, not just your rights, but also your responsibilities to the housing association. 

While your housing association has certain responsibilities to you, you also have certain responsibilities. These should be outlined in your tenancy agreement and your tenant's handbook.

Your housing association must make sure that your home is safe to live in. Your tenancy agreement should explain whether you or your housing association is responsible for repairs. Ask your landlord for a copy of your agreement if you don’t already have one.

If you fall behind on your rent, the Housing Executive or housing association can take steps to end your tenancy and evict you. Your landlord will need to get a court order before you'll have to leave the property and this will always be a last resort. Your landlord should try to sort the situation out with you before it starts legal action.

Your rights as a Housing Assocation tenant should be explained in your tenancy agreement and your tenant handbook.  Housing associations are regulated by the Department of Communities in Northern Ireland and registered housing associations have to comply with the guidelines set out by this government department. 

Many problems can be resolved by talking to someone at your housing association. When this doesn't sort out the problem you can use the housing association's formal complaints procedure.  Each housing association has its own procedure.  If you're not happy with the outcome of the formal complaint you might be able to ask the Ombudsman to look at your complaint or even take a Judicial Review against the housing association. 

The amount of time you'll have to wait for an offer of housing will normally depend on where you want to live and how many points you have.  Points can be confusing.  This information should help you understand how the system works.

Your landlord can only end your tenancy by following the correct process. Secure Housing Executive and housing association tenants can only be evicted if a court believes that they have broken the tenancy agreements. It's easier for a landlord to evict an introductory tenant, but the landlord still has to get a court order. Think carefully and get advice before you take any action to end your tenancy. It can be difficult to get a new social tenancy if you've given one up.

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