Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey MLA has taken urgent steps to put the Housing Executive rent increase on hold
The Housing Executive’s rent increase of 2.7% that was due to come into effect today (6 April) will now not come into effect until 1 October 2020.
Minister Deirdre Hargey said:
“I am well aware that the Housing Executive needs a long-term revitalisation programme in order to deliver much-needed investment in its homes and neighbourhoods. One of my earliest decisions as Minister was to approve the first Housing Executive rent increase in five years, in recognition of this. But we are now in a very different landscape. People are worried about their jobs, their income and whether they can pay their rent. The last thing they need is to face a rent increase this week.
“I want to assure the Housing Executive’s tenants that the rent increase will not take effect until the beginning of October 2020.”
Minister Hargey announced last week that the Housing Executive and Housing Associations had agreed that, where their tenants are facing difficulties paying rent during Covid-19, they will not be evicted. The Minister added:
“I will continue to do everything I can to alleviate the impact of Covid-19 on tenants. I am assured that the NIHE is taking a sympathetic and proactive approach to any tenant who has been impacted by the current emergency. I want to extend my sincere thanks to the Housing Executive for everything it is doing to support its tenants, and for urgently taking steps to postpone the rent increase at very short notice.”
The postponement of the rent increase applies only to Housing Executive tenants. Housing Executive tenants who are in receipt of Universal Credit are asked to look out for contact from the Housing Executive in the coming days, to help them ensure their payments are accurate.
Notes to editors:
- The setting of registered Housing Association rents is a matter for the Board of each individual Housing Association. When the rental increase is determined for the Housing Executive, the Department for Communities advises the NI Federation of Housing Associations of the increase and recommends that Housing Associations limit any rent increase to that applied to the Housing Executive, to bring more conformity to social housing rent levels. To provide the appropriate period of notice, rents are usually agreed in January / February each year. Housing associations make decisions focused on affordability for their tenants, while also being required, as standalone charities, to repay private finance which is used to help build much-needed new social homes.
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