Sinn Féin MLA for Foyle, Karen Mullan, has called on the Department for Communities to act immediately on Residual Rent arrears policy that is being implemented by the Housing Executive across the North.

Speaking following a meeting with senior staff at the department, alongside party colleague Alex Maskey MLA, Karen Mullan said,

“Several constituents contacted me during the summer to raise concerns that they were in arrears due to being changed over to Universal Credit, through no fault of their own. They had discovered this when applying for the redecoration grant after maintenance work which was being carried out by Housing Executive.

Housing Executive tenants who have switched or been transferred over to Universal Credit automatically go into rental arrears for the first 12 months.

To date, the response we have received from the Department for Communities  has been very dissatisfactory.

This policy must be changed as tenants are being punished due to these arrears

“Tenants have found that they are not entitled to the Home Decoration Allowance, which is putting them under financial hardship when getting much needed maintenance schemes carried at their homes by the Housing Executive”

“We will be responding to the Department outlining our dissatisfaction and will continue to call for this policy is changed.”