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Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Waiting time and offers

Because of the shortage of social housing some people will wait a very long time before they get offered a property.  You could have a long wait, even if you passed the 4 homeless tests and are legally homeless.

Waiting for an offer

The best way to increase your chance of getting an offer is to either:

You are entitled to 3 reasonable offers of accommodation. When you get an offer you'll have an opportunity to view the property. Your offer letter should explain how much you'll have to pay for the property.

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.

You're only entitled to 3 reasonable offers. If you're offered a property that you don't want you'll lose one of these offers unless you can show the Housing Executive or housing association that the offer wasn't reasonable. How you challenge the decision depends on whether you've passed the 4 homelessness tests of not.

You'll have to renew your application every year and if you don't do this, you'll be removed from the waiting list. It's important that you keep your details up to date. A change in your circumstances could mean you're entitled to more points. You can also lose points if your circumstances change.

In very, very rare circumstances the Housing Executive can ask a Housing Association to buy a property for someone on the waiting list. This is knows as the Special Acquisition of Dwellings.

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.