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Brady Highlights Concerns about New Housing Allowance

11 April, 2008

Sinn Féin MLA Micky Brady has expressed concerns about a new Local Housing Allowance which has replaced Housing Benefit for private rented sector tenants who seek financial help fort he first time.

Mr Brady said:

"The amount of Local Housing Allowance payable will depend on the area someone lives in; the numbers of people and bedrooms needed and whether or not the person is under 25 years of and lives alone. A set of size criteria used will calculate the number of bedrooms the person qualifies for and this information will determine the rate of Local Housing Allowance available.

"I am concerned about this size criterion, as the Housing Executive will only consider the number of bedrooms needed by the occupants and the need for other rooms will not be taken into account. These criteria could encourage some landlords to promote rentals to Housing Benefit claimants with fewer rooms which in turn will lead to overcrowding.

"I would advise people seeking private rented accommodation to seek advice before taking up new tenancies because their living conditions and levels of financial help will be determined by the bedroom space they require." ENDS

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