Avoiding homelessness

How to avoid becoming homeless

You should get advice as soon as you know there is a risk you may become homeless.

By getting the right advice you may be able to prevent it from happening. Find out what your rights are, and then take the necessary steps to give yourself the best chance to avoid becoming homeless.

If you are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless, contact us as soon as possible on 03448 920 900 or go to your local Housing Executive office

If you are still in your home

If you are a tenant or a homeowner, you only have to leave your home if your landlord or lender follows the correct procedures and applies for a court order.

Going to court can cost a lot of money and you may have to pay some of this cost. You should get advice if you are thinking of going to court.

You should always try to avoid being evicted. Try to speak to your landlord or lender to see if you can reach agreement with them to stay in your home. If you owe money, you may be able to arrange to pay it back. If you have been asked to leave because of your behaviour, you may be able to get your landlord to give you another chance to prove you can change.

If you are staying with family or friends, ask if they will agree to let you stay a little longer while you look for somewhere else to live. Talking through any problems might help.

You should contact your local district office if you are considering mediation help.

If you are leaving care

Young people leaving care are at greater risk of becoming homeless. Help from social services can make it easier for you to become independent. Make sure you benefit from any help and advice that is available.

If you are leaving care, you should:

  • make sure you are well prepared
  • know your rights
  • work out your finances and know how much you can afford
  • make sure you find a place to live before you leave care

More useful information for people leaving care is available on the Housing Advice NI website

If you are suffering domestic abuse

If you are experiencing domestic abuse from someone who lives with you, or who used to live with you, you may feel that your only option is to leave your home.

But you may be able to get a court order that stops the violent person from contacting you or staying in your home. You don't have to own your home to be able to apply for a court order. Once it is in place, the police can arrest the person if its terms are broken.

If you already have a court order that is being ignored, you should contact the police.

Useful links

If you have already contacted us and feel you need more help, or you want advice about your circumstances, you should contact the Housing Rights Service or the Simon Community. 

NI Simon Community provide support and help for people who are homeless, and advice on avoiding homelessness.

Housing Advice NI is the home of independent housing advice in Northern Ireland. It is written and updated by Housing Rights and funded by the Housing Executive.

Housing Rights Service has been working to improve lives by tackling homelessness and housing problems in Northern Ireland for 50 years.

Rough sleeping