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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Housing advice clinic February 2016

This clinic answered questions on tenants' rights to have their landlord's details, renovation grants for homeowners, the bedroom tax in Northern Ireland and overcrowding. 

Getting your landlord's details

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MarianFitzy: Hi -I don’t know who my landlord is and the agent won’t tell me. How can I find out?
 
Housing Advice NI: Hi Marian - Your agent is required, by law, to put your landlord’s name,address and telephone number on your rent book and on the information relating to your tenancy deposit. Did you get these documents?
 
MarianFitzy: I've got a rent book, but for landlord's name it just has the agents information again
 
Housing Advice NI: Okay - well the law (Rent Book Regulations 2007 and Private Tenancies Order 2006) says that the agent has to give you a rent book with your landlord's name, address and telephone number. The private tenancies order also says that an agent has to give this information to the tenant if the tenant asks for it in writing.
 
MarianFitzy: oh Does he not need to register though? My dad said that allthe landlords have to be licensed now
 
Housing Advice NI: If the agent refuses to give you this information, contact your local council -you need to speak to the Environmental Health team at the council. Explain that you don't have this information...
 
Housing Advice NI: AS far as registering, your dad's right - all landlords have to be registered (not licensed) and you can check the NI Direct website to find out if your landlord has registered. However, you won't be able to get the landlord's name or contact details from that website - just confirmation that there is a landlord registered for your rental property.
 
Housing Advice NI: Try writing to the agent and requesting the information - if you hang on a tick I'll get the right piece of legislation for you to quote
 
Housing Advice NI: It's Article 66 (2) - you can read it here. Good luck The Private Tenancies (Northern Ireland) Order 2006
 
MarianFitzy: Thanks - if it doesn't work what do I do
 
Housing Advice NI: Marian, if the agent still won't give you the information contact the council. If you run into any problems give our advice line a call on 028 9024 5640 
 
Housing Advice NI: There's lots of useful information on this site for people having housing problems. If you haven't already, you might want to check out our videos. These are full of useful tips to help with different types of housing problems Videos | Housing Advice NI
 

Grants

GerryMorwood: hello can u get help to replace ur roof

Housing Advice NI: Hello Gerry - are you talking about a property that you rent or own?
 
GerryMorwood: its not my house. my wifes sister lives in an old farmhouse but the roof is very bad it leaks very badly. she cant afford to fix it so wondering if theres any money for that
 
Housing Advice NI: Okay - does your sister in law own or rent the property?
 
GerryMorwood: She owns it -
 
Housing Advice NI: Okay, while there used to be renovation grants available to help homeowners in situations like these, the funding for these was seriously cut nearly 10 years ago. Since then,these types of grants will only be approved in very exceptional circumstances.
 
Housing Advice NI: Ask your sister in law to give the Housing Executive's Grants team a ring in case her circumstances are so bad that she'd qualify. But she'd need to set her expectations pretty low. The chances of getting any grant funding are really slim
 
Housing Advice NI: If, however, the property is in such serious disrepair that it's having a serious detrimental impact on your sister in law, she might be entitled to assistance from NIHE - Have a read of the section on our website about homelessness.Homelessness | Housing Advice NI
 
Housing Advice NI: And ask your sister in law to give our advice line a call if she's got any specific questions about how this applies to her - its 028 9024 5640
 
GerryMorwood: Will do thanks. Will the grants situation chance in April?
 
Housing Advice NI: I wouldn't imagine so Gerry - it's been like this since about 2008 and I haven't heard that the funding to the Housing Executive has increased.
 
Housing Advice NI: If you've got a question but don't want to ask it in public, you can request a private chat
 
Housing Advice NI: Just click on the green balloon beside HousingAdviceNI on the right hand side of the chat box 
 

Bedroom tax in Northern Ireland

EakinHans: is bedroom tax in northern ireland

Housing Advice NIHi EakinHans - that's kind of a tricky question. At the minute there is no bedroom tax in NI. However, there's a lot of welfare changes happening at the moment. As far as we're aware tenants are not going to be financially affected by the bedroom tax in the next few years, but at the minute we don't know exactly how this is going to work.
 
Housing Advice NI: Our policy team is trying to find out more about how the bedroom tax will work in NI and once we know, we'll update this website and put an article on our other website: Housing Rights
 
Housing Advice NI: I'm sorry that I can't give you a more detailed answer than that - hopefully by March we'll have a better idea of what's happening. Keep an eye on our website for updates
 

Overcrowding

 
EmmaT2014: I’ve got three young kids living with me, my husband and my sister in a two bedroom housing executive house. Isn’t this against the law?
 
Housing Advice NI: Overcrowding isn’t illegal and, unfortunately, there are lots of people living with this type of overcrowding. Are the three kids all sisters or brothers? What ages are they?
 
EmmaT2014: Yes – they’re all mine, twin boys aged 5 and a 12 year old girl.
 
Housing Advice NI: Okay – so, ideally your family would need a four bedroom house; one bedroom for you and your husband, one for your sister, one for your daughter and one for your twin sons You can apply for a transfer to a larger house and you’ll be given 20 points because your current home is two bedrooms short for your needs. You might be entitled to other points too and the more points you have, the better your chances are of getting a transfer. You can read more about points on our website.
 
Housing Advice NI: You should also maybe look into an exchange or swap. You can register your property for a swap on the Homeswapper website -youll need your landlord's permission before you can proceed with the swap though.
 
Housing Advice NI: Find out more about exchanges here: Exchanging or swapping your home | Housing Advice NI