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The Universal Credit, Personal Independence Payment, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance (Claims and Payments) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2016

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Housing costs

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6.—(1) This paragraph applies where the following condition is met.

(2) The condition is that in any assessment period the claimant is in debt for any item of housing costs which is included in the claimant’s award of universal credit under Schedule 4 to the Universal Credit Regulations (housing costs element for renters).

(3) Where this paragraph applies, but subject to sub-paragraph (4), the Department may, in such cases and circumstances as it may determine, in relation to that assessment period deduct an amount from the claimant’s award equal to 5 per cent. of the standard allowance in respect of any debt mentioned in sub-paragraph (2) and pay that amount or those amounts to the person to whom any such debt is owed.

(4) Before the Department may commence (or re-commence) making deductions in respect of any such debt, the claimant’s earned income (or in the case of joint claimants their combined earned income) in relation to the previous assessment period must not exceed the work allowance.

(5) No amount may be deducted under this paragraph in respect of owner-occupier payments within the meaning of paragraph 5 of Schedule 1 to the Universal Credit Regulations (owner-occupier payments) in any case where those payments—

(a)are required to be paid directly to a qualifying lender under regulation 54; or

(b)would have been required to be paid to a body which, or a person who, would otherwise have been qualifying lender but for an election given under paragraph 10 of Schedule 4.

(6) As between liability for items of housing costs to which this paragraph applies, liabilities in respect of owner-occupier payments (within the meaning of paragraph 5(1) of Schedule 1 to the Universal Credit Regulations (owner-occupier payments)) are to have priority over all other items.

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