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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Private rented housing benefit

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.

Housing benefit is a social security benefit which helps people on low income with their housing costs. It can cover rent, rates and some service charges. There are different systems for working out housing benefit for social tenants, who rent from the Housing Executive or housing associations, and for private tenants, who rent from a private landlord or agent.

Landlords usually ask tenants to pay rent at the start of the month. This means that you may have to pay a month's rent in advance as well as a deposit before you move in to your accommodation. You may be able to get help to cover this rent in advance.

All tenants have a legal right to apply for housing benefit to help them with their housing costs. You should get to know how housing benefit is calculated and paid.

Local housing allowance calculates housing benefit for people living in private rented accommodation. The scheme was introduced in April 2008 and it applies for certain groups of private tenants only.

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.

Most people who normally live in Northern Ireland, have a low income and have to pay rent or rates can claim housing benefit. If you have savings or own property the amount you get may be reduced. People who have recently moved to the UK and full time students will not normally get housing benefit.

If someone has to pay rent or rates for their home and is on a low income, they can make a claim for housing benefit. There are some people who cannot apply for housing benefit.

The amount of housing benefit 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.

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