What Is A Housing Association?

Looking for an affordable home to rent or buy? Curious about what a Housing Association is and why they can often offer more for your money?

What Is A Housing Association?

Uniquely British, Housing Associations offer affordable housing to people needing a home. Although Housing Associations are private organisations, they are non-profit making and profits are used to maintain existing housing stock and finance new homes.

Sometimes referred to as ‘social housing’, Housing Associations vary in size, from single-site developments to organisations that may provide houses to rent all over the country.

In addition to providing low-cost housing, many Housing Associations also provide sheltered accommodation for older, or disabled people.

Once associated with cheap rental homes, Housing Associations are a way for people to access good quality homes at reasonable prices. Many associations also provide schemes enabling people to purchase affordable homes.

Housing Associations are funded in a variety of ways; public money, money raised through renting, and private funding.

The History Of Housing Associations

Housing Associations first appeared in the post-Industrial revolution years of the 19th century, alongside the growth of the new middle-class and philanthropic organisations.

In the last decades of the 20th century, they became more important because of several changes to council housing brought in under Margaret Thatcher’s government, including the option for council tenants to buy their council-owned properties.

Eventually, it made more sense for many councils to transfer some or all of their stock over to Housing Associations due to cost-cutting initiatives in local government and a housing benefit scheme that favoured Housing Associations.

Housing Acts in ’85 and ’88 facilitated the transfers with the 1988 act allowing Housing Associations access to private financing.

Council housing still exists alongside Housing Associations but most of the social housing in the UK is now held by associations. These may or may not be registered as charities.

As mentioned, Housing Associations are independent and run much like corporations but because they receive public funding, they are regulated by the government, much like a local authority would be when it comes to housing.

Who Can Live In A Housing Association Home?

Anyone can live in a home rented from a Housing Association. There are no defining factors when deciding what type of people can rent a home but priority is generally given to those who are in the greatest need.

You can read more about this in our Lettings and Allocations policy

Historically, there has perhaps been a stereotype that people living in social housing are on lower incomes or live on state support. Whilst in some cases, this is true as Social Housing is more affordable for people with lower incomes, the rising costs in the private housing sector have changed this.

Housing Association cater to people from a wide variety of backgrounds and socio-economic status’ providing below market price homes for rent and sometimes, ways to purchase a home,

What Are The Benefits?

When it comes to living in a home owned by a Housing Association there are a few benefits.

Because association are generally large, registered, and visible organisations you may feel more secure in the knowledge that very little can go wrong. You pay your rent and in return live in a good quality standard home. No rogue landlords disappearing on you or asking you to move out!

Housing Associations have a responsibility to ensure your home is safe and fit for purpose, so this means you are guaranteed a certain standard of living. Many associations will have easy ways for you to request any repairs your home may need, and these will be carried out at no additional cost.

The biggest and most obvious benefit of renting with a Housing Association is the cost. Rents are below average market value, making it a much more affordable option – especially in areas where private rental prices are very high.

Some Housing Associations also offer the chance to purchase homes via shared ownership or other similar schemes. This can be a great way to get on the property ladder for low- and medium-income earners or first-time buyers.

Can You Buy Houses From Housing Associations Instead Of Renting?

Yes. Some Housing Associations offer shared ownership schemes and will have a team dedicated to assisting you when it comes to understanding what buying your home means, and how to go about it.

Our own experienced property sales team, Homemade can help if you are interested in buying a home from Accent.

Looking For A Housing Association Home To Rent?  

We have a wide range of properties available, including houses, apartments, bungalows, and sheltered housing, available directly through us.

If you are looking for a home to rent from a Housing Association, then we may have what you are looking for.


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