When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Areas of choice

When you apply for social housing you’ll have to choose 2 areas where you’d like to live. Most people can choose any areas they want but there are restrictions on some people.

Choosing an area

There are a few things to think about when choosing an area. When a property is available the housing officer who is making the offer will look at the list to see

  • who wants property in that area
  • who needs this type of property and
  • who, of these people, has the most points.

When you choose your areas, think about

  • what size of property you need and what areas have a lot of those properties
  • whether there are any new builds planned for the area
  • how often properties become available in the area
  • whether the area is close to any services you use, like schools or clinics.

You can also contact the Housing Executive or a housing association and ask them for a rough idea of how many points you’d need to the type of property you need in the area you want. 

Changing your areas of choice

You can change your areas of choice.  Call or write to the Housing Executive to do this.  Make sure you keep a copy of your letter or take a note of who you spoke to and when you spoke to them.  You might want to double check that the change has been noted on your file a week or so later.

Automatic widening of your chosen areas

The Housing Executive will automatically widen your areas of choice after 6 months if you've passed the 4 homelessness tests but still haven't found permanent accommodation.  This means that you may now be offered properties that don't exactly match the original areas that you chose.  

Restrictions to your choice of area

If you’ve been intimidated out of your home you may not be allowed to choose certain areas because you wouldn’t be safe living there.

People who being supervised under Public Protection Arrangements Northern Ireland (PPANI) might have restrictions placed on their choice of area.  If you’re concerned about this, speak to your Designated Risk Manager.

If you’re confused about areas of choice speak to an adviser at Housing Rights.