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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Points for housing

The amount of time you'll have to wait for an offer of housing will normally depend on where you want to live and how many points you have.  Points can be confusing.  This information should help you understand how the system works.

Some people won't ever get enough points for an offer.  If you're in this position you'll need to think about other housing options, like renting privately or making your current home more suitable.  Smartmove Housing can help make renting privately more affordable.  You won't have to pay a full deposit before you move in and the rent should be affordable to people on housing benefit. 

When you apply for housing your housing officer will award you points based on your personal, housing and social circumstances. The more points you have, the better your chance of getting an offer. People can be unclear about when points are awarded. Points can only be given to you if you can show that you meet a specific standard set out in the Selection Scheme. Ask the Housing Executive for a breakdown of your points if you’re not sure which ones you’ve been given.

When you apply for housing, the Housing Officer looking after you will check the information you've put on your application form to find out how many points you're entitled to. It's easy to get confused about points, but hopefully this video will help you understand what types of circumstances score points.

You'll probably wait a long time for an offer if your points are low. There are a couple of things you can try to speed up the process. You could change your areas of choice to an area with less demand or you could look at the properties available on the Housing Executive's Choice Based Lettings scheme.

Smartmove may be able to find you an affordable private tenancy, which won't require a full deposit before you move in. Staff at Smartmove can also help you get in touch with any extra support that you might need to make sure your tenancy lasts.  If you take up a Smartmove tenancy, you'll be taken off the waiting list. 

If your current housing situation doesn't suit your needs it's natural to think you might have to move. But, with the right help and support, you may be able to continue living in your current home. While housing waiting lists are so long and renting privately can be expensive it's worth checking if you can do something practical to allow you to continue living where you are.