Are Housing Association homes different from council homes? How do they work, and how can you find a home to either rent or buy?
Find the answers, plus more in this blog.
What Is A Housing Association?
Housing Associations are private social landlords offering affordable homes to people across the UK. Although they are not for profit organisations, Housing Associations are run more like a private business with the exception that excess budget is used to either improve existing housing stock or go towards building more homes.
Some Housing Associations are very big and may own hundreds of homes, whilst some are smaller and may just own a single development.
No matter the size, or location, most Housing Associations work in a simar way.
How Do Housing Associations Work?
Housing Associations already own large amounts of property in the country – this housing is let out to people, usually on a long-term basis and is an affordable alternative to the private rental market.
The day to day running of Housing Associations, for example, paying staff or repairs to properties etc, is covered by the rent tenants pay, so all money raised through rent goes into maintaining and improving the association and not making any owners or directors rich.
Most Housing Associations have a voluntary board or committees, often including residents so that the association is run fairly and democratically, and residents have the chance to have their voices heard.
Additional funding for Housing Associations comes from public money, this means they are regulated and must meet certain standards. Housing Associations can also access private funding, should they need tousually in the form of partnerships to build more houses.
Who Can Rent A Home With A Housing Association?
Anyone can rent a home with a Housing Association. There used to be a particular myth that social homes were for people on low incomes or people in need. For more information on how we allocate our homes see our Allocations and Lettings Policy.
This isn’t the case anymore – rising house prices in the UK, and the cost of rent in some big cities in particular means Housing Associations now rent homes to people from all walks of life.
There is a shortage of affordable homes in the UK so Housing Associations are now an attractive option for many people looking to put roots down somewhere, either through renting a home or buying through a Housing Association.
How Do I Rent A Home With A Housing Association?
To rent a home with a Housing Association you can sometimes make a direct application. For example, we list a portion of our homes for rent on our website enabling anyone to apply for a house directly.
Direct applications don’t apply to all Housing Association though, some only offer properties using the local council’s choice-based letting system. This is a scheme where people looking for a home will ‘bid’ on homes they are interested in and be prioritised based on their need.
Here at Accent, we offer our rental properties both ways, but the majority are available through Choice Based letting schemes.
You may have heard of us through a local authority choice-based scheme or apply with us directly.
Are Housing Associations Different To Council Housing?
Yes, Housing Associations are different as they are independent of councils and the government. However, in most areas, Local Authorities will manage the allocation of social housing, so most Housing Association residents are referred via their local council.
This doesn’t mean Housing Association properties are ‘council housing’ – they’re still independently owned and operated separately from councils.
Can You Buy Your Home From A Housing Association?
Due to the cost of buying a property in the UK, many people now find it almost impossible to get on the property ladder.
Some Housing Associations now offer a portion of their housing for people to buy, usually through a shared ownership scheme.
Shared ownership schemes allow a person to purchase a part of their home, usually around 50% and then pay subsidised rent on the rest of the home. These schemes give more people the chance to own their own home, especially younger people.
Accent is one such Housing Association offering homes to buy as part of a shared ownership scheme.
Get In Touch
You can read much more about Accent, who we are and what we do on our website but if you have any further questions about how we operate or questions about renting and buying a home with us, please contact us.