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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Getting advice

This page only contains basic information and is the English version of our translated content.  For more detailed advice and information on housing in Northern Ireland in the English language, use the menu options on the homepage. 

If you moved to Northern Ireland in order to take up work, you have joined a growing population of migrant workers living and working in Northern Ireland.

This section outlines your housing rights and entitlements, which can vary depending on your category as a migrant worker and your country of origin.

What are my housing rights?

There are different categories of migrant workers who have different rights to work in NI.

Migrant workers can be:

  • EEA (European Economic Area) and Swiss nationals, 
  • Croatian nationals 
  • Work permit holders, sector-based scheme workers, working holiday makers, highly skilled migrants…(non-EU nationals)
  • Undocumented (non-UK nationals working in the UK illegally)

Your rights and entitlements in Northern Ireland will depend upon your distinct category as a migrant worker, as well as your country of origin. Contact the UK Borders Agency to find out more about migrant workers' rights in UK.

The Housing Executive has a legal duty to give housing advice and information on preventing homelessness to anyone who asks in Northern Ireland.

Laws and regulations concerning migrant workers are complicated. If you need information about your legal status or help with immigration issues, contact a qualified immigration adviser, such as the Law Centre NI. All agencies providing immigration advice should be registered with the Office of the Immigration Service Commissioner (OISC).

I need help with a housing problem

The Housing Executive has a legal duty to give housing advice and information on preventing homelessness to anyone who asks in Northern Ireland.

Housing legislation is complicated in Northern Ireland.

These pages give general information on a variety of housing issues to help you better understand your situation. You'll also find information about appropriate agencies to contact for further help and support with your housing problem.

However, if you find yourself in housing stress, intimidated and unsure of your rights, or facing difficulties such as homelessness or rent arrears, it is important to get more detailed advice and speak to a housing specialist as soon as possible.

Where should I seek advice?

The Housing Executive has a legal duty to give housing advice and information on preventing homelessness to anyone who asks in Northern Ireland.

If you have a complex problem and need specialist advice, Law Centre NI may be able to help you as it has an immigration unit working on assisting foreign nationals and protecting their social welfare rights. Immigration Advice Booklet is a Law Centre publication available to download on their website.

If you feel you have been discriminated against on the grounds of colour, race, nationality, or ethnic or national origin, you may wish to seek support from the Equality Commission NI.

You can also seek help from a wide selection of independent advice agencies and Citizens Advice Bureau offices operating throughout Northern Ireland. You can search for their details using our Advice Services Directory.

This website is operated by Housing Rights, an independent agency offering free, confidential advice and information. If you have a housing query, telephone our advice line on 028 9024 5640 or call in and speak to an adviser.

Our helpline is open Monday through Friday from 9.30am - 1.30pm.

If you wish to speak to an adviser in person, you can come by our office from 9.30am - 1.30pm, Monday through Friday.

If you prefer to get prompt and accurate advice by email (available in English only), you can email us your housing query and we will reply within the shortest time possible.

What can an adviser do for me?

An adviser can:

  • explain your rights and entitlements,
  • answer your questions about housing,
  • put you in touch with other organisations that can help,
  • help you complete forms (in some agencies).

If you are homeless or about to become homeless, advisers:

  • may be able to help you keep your current home,
  • can tell you what temporary accommodation may be available if you have nowhere to stay,
  • can help you make an application to the Housing Executive.

You should seek advice as soon as you realise you have a problem.