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Belfast widow can challenge arson attack house refusal

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A widow whose house in Belfast was targeted in an arson attack has won High Court permission to challenge a refusal to buy it from her through a special initiative

A widow whose house in Belfast was targeted in an arson attack has won High Court permission to challenge a refusal to buy it from her through a special initiative

A widow whose house in Belfast was targeted in an arson attack has won High Court permission to challenge a refusal to buy it from her through a special initiative

A widow whose house in Belfast was targeted in an arson attack has won High Court permission to challenge a refusal to buy it from her through a special initiative.

The woman, who cannot be identified, mounted a legal challenge after the Northern Ireland Housing Executive rejected her application under the Scheme for the Purchase of Evacuated Dwellings.

SPED allows the authorities to buy homes from those unable to continue living in them due to acts of violence, threats or intimidation.

Referred to as JR103, the woman was turned down for failing to meet the criteria of the property being owner-occupied and her principal or only home.

The court heard that, along with her late husband, she also owned a house in north Down.

In July 2015 JR103 planned to move to the Belfast property, but stated that events at that time rendered it uninhabitable.

The house was vacated within days following an arson attack.

She made a fresh application for the SPED scheme in July 2019, but was rejected a month later. The decision was based on conclusions that the Belfast property was not her principal home at relevant dates.

Ruling on her judicial review challenge, Mr Justice Humphreys held she had established an arguable case about an alleged misinterpretation of the scheme.

He granted leave to seek a judicial review on further grounds, including alleged procedural unfairness.

The case will now advance to a full hearing later in the year.

Belfast Telegraph