Home Resident Public Health & Housing

Public Health & Housing

Public Health & Housing

It is our objective to help improve housing and general living conditions throughout the council area.

Our officers deal with complaints and enquiries about a range of housing issues including:

  • providing advice about rent books, tenancy deposits and tenancy statements
  • inspecting properties to make sure they are suitable to live in and issuing certificates of fitness (where applicable)
  • investigating complaints such as smell, littering and general nuisances
  • Providing advice on carbon minoxide, damp/condensation
  • Dealing with complaints regarding harassment and unlawful eviction
  • Providing advice on the Landlord Registration Scheme

We can also take legal action against landlords if the condition of their property creates an unhealthy environment for tenants. This covers privately-rented properties and those owned by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive or other housing associations.

A nuisance is in general terms, a disturbance which substantially interferes with a person’s use or enjoyment of, property. However, only certain matters may constitute a statutory nuisance and these are set out in the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act (Northern Ireland) 2011. Officers from the Environmental Health Department can offer advice on whether any specific issue may constitute a nuisance.

We do not deal with the allocation of social housing – this is the role of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.

High Hedges

The High Hedges Act (Northern Ireland) 2011 requires local authorities to adjudicate on complaints about high hedges that are alleged to be blocking light to a neighbour’s property. If the hedge(s) is found to be higher than what the legislation and guidance deem acceptable, the hedge owner may be asked to cut it down to a reasonable height. If you would like some advice or would like to make a complaint, please contact us.

Pest Control

The council do not have a pest control service however information leaflets on common pests are available. We can also provide additional advice on eradicating problem rodent and insect infestations, please contact us for further details.

Southern Safer Homes provides free home safety checks to those considered a higher risk of having a home accident; people aged 65 and over; families with children under the age of 5; vulnerable adults and children; those with a disability or other special needs.

On request by an individual or referral by an agency, a Home Safety Officer will visit your home to offer information and advice on how to avoid accidents, identifying hazards in the home likely to cause accidents. In certain circumstances, free safety equipment may be provided.

With your consent, other agencies can be contacted on your behalf, such as NI Fire & Rescue Service (fitting of smoke alarms), NIHE (housing issues/repairs), SHSCT  Occupational Therapy Dept (falls risk), Council Community Safety (fear of crime) and Affordable Warmth Scheme (heating and insulation), etc.

If you feel you are eligible for a Home Safety visit, contact us on 0300 0300 900, asking to be put through to the Environmental Health Department in your area.

Safety information.

There is an extensive range of information relating to Safety in and around the Home, specifically for Older Persons and Under 5s. For information and advice on topics listed below, view the Southern Trust’s Accident Prevention Page
Southern Trust

  • Alcohol and Home Accidents
  • Baby and Child Safety around Dogs & Responsible Dog Ownership
  • Blind cord safety. Leaflets in a range of Languages. Video titled ‘Blind Truth’
  • Button Battery Dangers – Keep out of Sight and Reach From Children
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Childhood Poisoning – Liquitabs and other Dangers in the Home
  • E-Cigarettes – The Safety Risks
  • Electrical Safety in Your Home
  • Farm Safety – Owners, Workers, Children
  • Gas Safety
  • Hair Straighteners – Dangers to Babies and Young Children
  • Nappy Sack Safety and Risk of Suffocation
  • Parent Home Safety Information Leaflet
  • Reducing Fire Risk
  • TV and Furniture Tip-Over Accidents
  • Water Safety – Swimming Pools, Water Safety at Home

To view the Southern Trust’s link to Falls Prevention Clinics and Falls Prevention Directory click here

The Falls Directory is helpful if you want to know more about falls. It contains information to help understand why falls occur, the health conditions that are linked to falls, reducing your risk of falling and what to do if you experience a fall.

Armagh City Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council operates the Affordable Warmth Scheme in partnership with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE).  The Scheme is funded by the Department for Communities (DfC) to help householders in need to pay for energy efficiency improvements.

Areas where householders are more likely to be affected by fuel poverty and require energy efficiency measures are identified by DfC and details provided to the Council. If your home is within one of those areas, you will be contacted by Council staff and if you wish, a member of the team will visit your home to complete the paperwork. This will then be sent to the NIHE Grants Office to arrange a visit for a technical inspection.

The Scheme includes:

  • Cavity Wall/Solid Wall Insulation
  • Loft Insulation
  • Hot Water Jacket
  • Draught Proofing
  • Oil or Gas Heating (additional criteria applies)
  • Replacement/Repair of windows (additional criteria applies)

You may be eligible:

  • If you own your house, privately rent or have a life interest in your home

and

  • Your gross annual household income is less than £20,000

To check if you are eligible
You can contact a member of the Affordable Warmth Team at Armagh City Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council.  Checks will then be carried out on income and ownership and if all criteria is met, your details will be taken for a visit to be carried out.
Contact us at T: 028 38312432 or E: 

Keep Cosy is a scheme designed to help householders who use central heating oil to budget and save to buy oil. Home heating oil is cheaper when bought in larger quantities. So saving over time is better than ordering small amounts on a regular basis.

The scheme is open to all householders in the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area. Retail outlets selling oil stamps as part of this scheme are located throughout the borough.

Further information including a list of participating outlets can be found in the following leaflets:

A private tenant can only be forced to leave their home if a court of law has issued a court order.

Our public health and housing team can:

  • provide advice to landlords and tenants
  • investigate complaints of harassment and unlawful eviction
  • prosecute landlords who have harassed or illegally evicted their tenants.

Harassment

Harassment covers any action taken by a landlord, or someone acting on their behalf, to make a tenant leave their home.

Examples include:

  • interfering with gas, water and electricity supplies
  • making threats and instructing a tenant to leave
  • entering the property without consent
  • refusing to carry out repairs
  • making frequent unannounced visits, especially late at night.

Tenants should record the details of any harassment including the date, time and a short description of the incident.

Unlawful eviction

This occurs when a landlord, or any person acting for them, forces or attempts to force a tenant from their home without following the proper legal procedures.

Examples include:

  • changing the locks to a property when a tenant is not at home
  • physically throwing a tenant out
  • stopping a tenant from getting into part or all of their home.

If a landlord wants a tenant to leave, they must provide a ‘notice to quit’, even if there is no tenancy agreement.

For further information, speak with an Environmental Health Officer by telephone 0300 0300 900 or email

Further information can also be found at:

https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/protection-against-eviction

https://www.housingadviceni.org/advice-private-tenants/can-i-be-evicted

https://www.housingadviceni.org/advice-private-tenants/harassment-landlords

Private landlords requiring advice on ending a tenancy can also speak with an Environmental Health Officer or alternatively can call Housing Rights Landlord Advice on 028 9024 5640 and choosing option 5. Lines open Monday to Friday, from 9.30am to 2.30pm. You can find more information at

https://www.housingadviceni.org/advice-landlords/process-ending-tenancy

https://www.housingadviceni.org/advice-landlords/dealing-problem-tenants

Homelessness

If you’re homeless and have nowhere to stay, you should contact the Housing Executive Homeless Support Unit on 03448 920 900.

You can also call the Simon Community 24 hours a day on 0800 171 2222 – they may be able to find you accommodation.

Try to avoid having to spend a night on the streets. A friend or family member may be able to help you out for a night or two until you’ve found somewhere to stay.

Remember, you don’t have to be living on the streets to be homeless. You are homeless if the Housing Executive believes it’s not reasonable for you to continue living in your current home. That could be because you’ve been asked to leave, because you can’t afford it anymore or because living there is damaging your health.

Help and advice

Get advice and find out what your rights are by speaking to the Housing Rights Service on 028 9024 5640 or visit their website.

You can also get help with homelessness and housing problems at your local Citizens Advice Bureau or independent advice agency.