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Monday, May 16, 2022

Communities Minister Hargey announces greater support for private tenants facing a shortfall in their rent

Changes to housing payments announced by Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey today, will mean more support for private tenants facing a shortfall in their rent and the housing support they currently receive.

The changes to Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) will also mean that privately renting claimants who lost the £20 UC uplift and who receive Universal Credit (UC) housing costs, can have their DHP award reviewed and increased in line with the new rules.

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Anyone who has had a significant change in their income or circumstances can also have their payment reviewed.

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Minister Hargey said: “The changes I have approved will see a much more flexible approach to the awarding of Discretionary Housing Payments. 

“Privately renting tenants in receipt of UC housing costs, who lost the £20 Universal Credit uplift, can have their payment reviewed and increased if eligible.

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“I have removed the two year time limit on Discretionary Housing Payments and have made the 13-week protection payment for people new to benefits, a permanent fixture.

“The rate at which new awards are calculated will also be increased while a review will be carried out of all awards under £10 per week with those increased if appropriate.”

The Discretionary Housing Payment scheme, which is administered by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE), will now be considered a long-term aid for those who require it which will help in sustaining tenancies.

Existing entitlement to Housing Benefit or the housing costs element of Universal Credit (UC) is a qualifying condition. Awards from the Scheme are discretionary and each application is considered on its own merits.

Minister Hargey continued, “I am pleased that following an extensive review of the scheme, undertaken by my officials and representatives of the DHP working group, a much more flexible approach will be taken to the award of payments going forward. 

“This approach will offer long-term support for people who require additional financial assistance, helping people meet their rental obligations and to maintain their tenancies.” 

Anyone requiring advice or assistance with making an application for a Discretionary Housing Payment should contact NIHE at Email: information@nihe.gov.uk. Phone: 03448 920 902 – Lines open 8.30am to 5pm Monday to Friday or by writing to: The Housing Centre, 2 Adelaide Street, Belfast, BT2 8PB

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