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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Repair issues for homeowners and leaseholders

You are usually responsible for carrying out any repairs or improvements once you have bought your home. It's very difficult to get grant approval from the Housing Executive to help you with the cost of repairs.  These days, this type of grant will only be awarded if the Housing Executive believes the condition of the property is likely to cause a very real and very serious risk to the life of the person living in it. 

You may need to get planning permission and approval from Building Control at your local council if you are going to carry out improvements or alterations.

Your lease will outline whether the freeholder has any responsibility for repairs. If you own a leasehold flat the freeholder may be responsible for repairs to the structure of the building, or shared areas. If you own a leasehold house it is unlikely that your freeholder will be responsible for repairs.

If your home has been damaged your insurance may cover the cost of repairs. Read your policy and make sure that the damage is covered. Your policy documents will tell you what to do if you need to make a claim.

Many builders provide structural guarantees for the first ten years after you buy your home. If any structural problems develop within that time, you won't have to pay for the repairs.

You need both planning permission and building control approval for certain extensions and building work. For others, like a loft conversion or installing a new boiler you’ll only need building control approval.

If you own your home, you bear the full responsibility when something goes wrong. Make sure you have sufficient insurance cover in place to protect your home and contents in case of strong winds, snow and ice. Making sure your home is insulated and heated can reduce the risk of water damage in your home during a bad winter.