Rather than privately renting a home from a landlord, you may be able to rent a home from your local council or a housing association. This is often referred to as social housing.
Housing associations usually offer similar types of housing as local councils. The difference is, a local authority has a duty to those in need and so specific criteria must be met to be eligible for local authority housing.
Whereas housing associations are not-for-profit organisations that provide affordable, quality housing to those on low income and those who need additional support. Like a local council, they also provide housing for those in need.
Renting from a housing association is affordable in comparison to private renting.
Registering With A Housing Association
Once you have found your local housing authority, you can register online or over the phone. You will be asked a series of questions. These could be about your:
- current living situation
- family and children/adults dependent on you
- job history
- past homes i.e., whether you are relocating or if you have lived elsewhere in the past
- savings and assets you may have
- visas and immigration documents (if you are not a UK citizen).
Will I Be Eligible?
Each housing association has its own guidelines on who can apply for their homes. If they deem you ineligible for their housing, you will not be able to rent a home from them.
In most circumstances, you will be eligible to rent a home from a housing association if you have a low income, are struggling financially or if you have very little in terms of savings.
You will also be eligible if you are homeless or are residing in unsuitable circumstances and cannot afford to private rent.
You may also be eligible if you have lived in the area for many years or if you have a local connection. A local connection is something that ties you to the area, such as a job, family member or someone you care for.
Some housing associations are more lenient with their application requirements.
Check Your Priority Level
If the housing association accepts your application, they will review your details and you will be categorised based on several factors and given a priority level.
For example, someone who is homeless, or living in unsuitable accommodation that is damaging their health, would be considered high priority. It is worth noting that even if you are listed as high priority, it may take some time before a suitable home becomes available.
If you are considered low priority, you may be waiting a long time for a home.
Look Into Choice Based Lettings
When renting from a housing association, choice based lettings schemes are often available. A choice based letting scheme gives people a choice in the home they live in. It usually works with a bidding and points system. When a home becomes available, people can 'bid' on it.
Due to high demand, each home usually has a high number of people bidding on it. After a certain period of time, the bids are reviewed, and the home is offered to the most suitable person at the top of the priority list.
The person can then accept or reject the home. If they reject the offer, the home is offered to the next person on the list. Find out more about choice based lettings here.
What Happens If I Am Offered A Home?
If you are on a waiting list and are offered a home, you will usually have a short period of time to accept the offer. Your housing association will then arrange a time to sign the tenancy agreement/contract. You will then be given a date to move into your new home.
If you are offered a home that you have previously bid for via a choice based letting scheme, you again have a short time period to accept or reject the offer. If you reject the offer, it can affect your points and therefore affect your chances of being offered a home in the future.
Due to this, it is best to only bid on homes you really want and avoid making too many rejections.
Get In Touch
Are you looking to rent from a housing association in England?
Accent Housing is a housing association that has been providing homes and services for a diverse range of people since 1966. Accent Housing has more than 20,000 homes across England, spread over the North, East and South. They aim to provide high-quality, affordable homes that will improve the lives of their residents.